Israeli basketball player Doron Shay 311 (R).
(photo credit: Agencja Gazeta / Reuters)
In an unprecedented move in Israeli sports, the Israel Basketball Association
canceled the women’s top-flight 2011/12 season on Sunday following a strike by
the local players’ union.
The Israeli players demanded that the ‘Russian
rule’ would continue to be implemented this season, while the IBA insisted that
it be scrapped.
The IBA was adamant that each team would be allowed to
use no more than four foreigners in a league game, and that all four would be
able to be on court at the same time – just like in the men’s BSL.
Israeli players said they would not begin the season unless two local players
would have to be on court at any given time during a game, a regulation
initially copied from the Russian league in the hope of promoting local
After several meetings between the sides without any
breakthrough, the union announced last Sunday that the Israeli players would not
take part in the league’s opening day last Monday.
The IBA insisted that
the games go ahead and three of the five were played with foreign and youth
IBA and union representatives met once again on Tuesday night,
but no agreement was reached and the association lived up to its word when it
declared on Sunday that the 2011/12 season will not go ahead.
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players’ union is illegal,” IBA chairman Shay Shani said. “The league will not
take place this season.
We are beginning to work on the 2012/13
“The players are part of the game, but not the entire game. They
are not the ones who set the rules.”
Culture and Sports Minister Limor
Livnat was extremely critical of the IBA’s announcement.
“The decision to
cancel the season is rash and irresponsible and severely hurts Israeli sports
and women’s sports in particular,” Livnat said.
“The IBA should have
exhausted every option in order to hold effective negotiations that would allow
the season to open. The fight for the existence of an Israeli basketball league,
with a significant representation of Israeli players on court, is a legitimate
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