(photo credit: Alen Shiber)
After seven seasons, the BSL voted to scrap the Final Four on Monday, while also
approving new regulations regarding foreign players in a meeting between
representatives of the league’s clubs during which BSL chairman Avner Kopel
surprisingly announced his departure.
The Final Four format to decide the
championship was introduced in the 2005/06 season in the hope of creating
interest in a league completely dominated by Maccabi Tel Aviv.
dropped its first league title in 15 years in the 2007/08 season following a
dramatic defeat to Hapoel Holon and failed to claim the championship once more
two years later after losing to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in the
However, while it was refreshing for everyone other than Tel Aviv
fans to see different sides win the championship, the unsporting nature of the
Final Four format attracted growing criticism from all quarters and the BSL
finally heeded the calls on Monday.
As of next season, a best-of-five
semifinal series will be played, just like in the quarterfinals, with a onegame
winner-takes-all final to take place to decide the title.
following two seasons, the championship will be determined with a home-and-away
tie, with the higher seed to host the second leg.
Wholesale changes were
also made regarding the number of foreigners each team can register and play at
any given time.
Last season, the BSL dropped the “Russian rule,” deciding
to allow each team to use no more than four foreigners in a league
In 2012/13, teams will be able to choose between two
They can decide to either continue with last season’s
regulations or adopt the new rule, aptly named the Israeli rule, which dictates
that a team must play with two Israelis on court at any given time while
registering up to five foreigners for a game.
Regardless of which option
a club selects, it will be allowed to use no more than eight foreigners during a
Starting from 2013/14, all teams will have to play according to
the Israeli rule.
While it was widely expected that the BSL would make
changes to the format and foreigners regulations, Kopel’s decision to leave
caught almost everyone by surprise.
Kopel has headed the BSL since its
formation 10 years ago, but decided to quit after being chosen as the Israel
Basketball Association’s interim chairman, ahead of the elections for a
permanent chairman later this summer.
“After 10 years as BSL chairman,
who acted out of love and in a spirit of volunteering without any benefit of any
sorts, and out of appreciation, respect and true friendship to the directorate
members, I’ve decided that this is the right time to pass the mantle to the next
chairman,” said Kopel, who will leave once a replacement is selected.