A shirtless fan takes a swing at Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
The Israel Football Association’s prosecutor demanded on Monday to deduct two points from Maccabi and Hapoel Tel Aviv, as well as close the stands at Bloomfield Stadium, following the abandonment of last week’s derby.
A week after the derby had to be stopped in its first half with the score tied at 1-1, both Maccabi and Hapoel faced the IFA’s disciplinary court on Monday.
A ruling is expected by Wednesday.
During the 33rd minute of the match at Bloomfield, a Hapoel fan jumped out of the stands and ran onto the pitch to confront Maccabi star Eran Zahavi. The two exchanged blows for over 10 seconds until the intruder was finally dragged off the field by the stewards. Zahavi was sent off for his part in the brawl and it took over 10 minutes until the match could be resumed. However, it was stopped for good only several seconds later after Maccabi fans also burst onto the field of play.
The clubs surprisingly displayed a united front in court on Monday, claiming that they shouldn’t be punished for the transgressions of the fans. However, judge Israel Shimoni questioned that assertion and prosecutor Nir Reshef said the teams should receive a severe punishment to help prevent similar occurrences in the future.
“How can we not hold the teams responsible?” asked Reshef. “If we don’t do that it will become the Wild West.”
Reshef requested that both teams have two points deducted and that the stands from which the fans jumped onto the pitch be closed for four matches. He also demanded that the result of the encounter should be declared as a 0-0 draw from which neither team will receive a point.
The hearing of Maccabi defender Carlos Garcia for calling on the club’s fans to burst onto the pitch was postponed by a week.
Meanwhile, Bnei Sakhnin appealed to the IFA’s high court on Monday, requesting to allow it to host Maccabi Petah Tikva at Doha Stadium.
The match was scheduled to take place in Nazareth on Monday before police decided to postpone it due to the heightened tensions in northern Israel. The league’s administration told Sakhnin that it will have to host the match on Tuesday either in Netanya or Ashdod.
However, Sakhnin sent a letter to the administration declaring that it refuses to do so and asked the IFA high court to intervene.
Sakhnin’s real concern is that it won’t be allowed to host its next match in Doha Stadium in two weeks time.
Sakhnin is set to host Beitar Jerusalem on November 23 in what is a volatile showdown in the best of times, not to mention in the current climate.