hapoel petah tikva_311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
One of the most decorated clubs in Israeli soccer hit rock bottom on Tuesday
evening when Hapoel Petah Tikva conceded that it is unable to post the minimum
budget required to play in the Premier League, resulting in its immediate
relegation to the National League.
Petah Tikva retracted its appeal to
the Israel Football Association’s high court on Tuesday after realizing that it
could not meet the Budget Control Authority’s requirements any time soon,
something it was supposed to do by last Thursday night.
The club went
into liquidation last month in the hope of embarking on a new course and
But liquidators Lior Dagan and Amit Pines couldn’t
achieve their first goal of keeping the team in the topflight, and Petah Tikva
will now not only play in the second division next season, but will also have
nine points deducted following the halving of points totals.
sad. I didn’t think that it would end like this,” Petah Tikva CEO Efi Tzafrir
said. “We tried to raise money from anyone who was willing to help, but we
couldn’t do it.”
Hapoel Kfar Saba, which lost to Petah Tikva in the
relegation playoffs last season, was given 24 hours on Tuesday to meet the IFA’s
requirements and should it do so it will take Petah Tikva’s place.
Kfar Saba fail to post the minimum budget of NIS 11.4 million, Hapoel Ashkelon,
which was relegated from the Premier League last season, will be the next in
“This is a difficult day. I feel like I have lost a child,” former
IFA and Petah Tikva chairman Gavri Levy said.
“It won’t be easy to
survive in the National League.”
Petah Tikva was the most successful club
in the country in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, winning its first
championship in 1954/55 before taking five straight league titles between 1959
and 1963, a record which still stands today.
The club also has two State
Cups to its name, the last from 1992, but in the past decade it has struggled
In 2007, it was relegated to the National League after 23
consecutive seasons in the top-flight. It managed to return to the Premier
League at the first time of asking, something it can only dream about in its