Sports minister aghast as Israel falls behind Palestinians in FIFA rankings

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev called the current Israeli soccer situation a "crisis."

November 22, 2017 18:43
1 minute read.
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Israel vs Spain - Teddy Stadium

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Israel vs Spain - Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem, Israel - October 9, 2017 / REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

For the second time in three years, Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev plans to look into the Israel national soccer team’s failure to reach a major tournament.

Following Israel's disappointing 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and impending drop to No. 98 in the FIFA rankings, below the likes of the Palestinian national team among others, Regev announced that she had instructed Ministry of Culture and Sport CEO Yossi Sharabi to approach international management consulting firm Tefen with the goal of examining the state of Israeli soccer. The Ministry said it is expecting to receive the consulting firm’s conclusions by June 2018.

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It was just two years ago that Regev and Israel Football Association chairman Ofer Eini announced the intention to set up a committee to look into the reasons Israeli soccer hasn’t reached a major tournament since the 1970 World Cup.

The committee never actually convened, but with Israeli soccer once more making headlines for the wrong reasons this week, Regev decided to take action, or at least create the impression she plans to do something.

Regev didn’t consult the Israel Football Association ahead of her latest announcement, angering IFA officials.

“Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and in Israel and it should be a source of national pride,” said Regev. “Soccer receives the biggest budget of all sports, but unfortunately the national team hasn’t qualified for a major tournament in 47 years. Due to the current crisis, which can be seen in the resounding failure in the latest campaign and the drop in the FIFA rankings, there is an immediate need to examine the reasons for failure.”
Soccer Match Wrap Up: Israel vs. Spain, October 9, 2017. (Yocheved Laufer)

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