IBA cancels entire women’s season in response to strike

Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat extremely critical of the IBA’s announcement.

November 7, 2011 06:17
1 minute read.
Israeli basketball player Doron Shay

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.

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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.

The 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 players.

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 players.

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.

“The 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 season.

“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 one.”

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