(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Israel Football Association on Sunday gave national team coach Luis
Fernandez until March 4 to cancel the suspension he was handed by
FIFA suspended the Israel coach on Thursday over a debt he owes to
a club in Qatar, after he failed to obey a November 2009 ruling by the governing
body’s disciplinary committee.
However, the 51-year-old Frenchman insists
he should not need to pay Al Rayyan the 400,000 euros the Qatari club claims it
is owed after he left the club for Betar Jerusalem in 2005.
“This is an
ongoing legal process, and I respect FIFA’s decision,” Fernandez said on Sunday.
“It is now my right to try and find a solution to this together with my lawyers.
As my lawyers say, I am the victim in this case. I am awaiting a police and
attorney’s report, and trust the decision of the Geneva attorney’s
After meeting with Fernandez on Sunday, IFA chairman Avi Luzon
said he believes that the problem will be solved before the blue-and-white’s
next 2012 European Championship qualifying matches against Latvia and Georgia,
on March 26 and 29, respectively.
“I’m certain that Luis will solve his
problems over the next few days so that he will be able to fully focus on
preparing the national team for its two important matches in March,” Luzon
In other Israeli soccer news, Ironi Kiryat Shmona was held to a 2-2
home draw by Hapoel Acre on Sunday.
Avi Knafo gave the visitors an early
lead in the second minute, but Kiryat Shmona turned the match on its head with
two goals in three minutes, through Adrian Rochet (21) and William Njovu
However, Nicolas Falczuk equalized in the 59th minute, ensuring
Kiryat Shmona and Acre remain in fourth and sixth positions, respectively, in
the Premier League standings.