Maccabi Tel Aviv said Thursday that it has decided to end its negotiations with French tycoon Philip Solomon, just 24 hours after announcing the upcoming partnership in an extravagant press conference.
Club president Loni Herzikovic announced that he has called off the talks due to Solomon's connections with alleged criminal organizations and his unclear past.
"We checked only a few of the sides involved in the negotiations." The Maccabi boss explained. "It's a very complex situation and we eventually decided to terminate all contact with Philip Solomon and his group of financial investors."
Solomon continued to protest his innocence "I have paid all my debts to the society and there are no legal proceedings against me today, in Israel and abroad," he told reporters. "The loss is entirely Maccabi's, since I wanted to bring in Lothar Mattaeus as head coach and I was in touch with other big names across Europe".
The yellow-and-blue will have its work cut out on Saturday as it hosts Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba at the Bloomfield stadium, in what could turn out to be one of Ton Caanen's last games as head coach of the club.
Ohana's side has come out strong in the season's third round, riding a nine-game unbeaten streak and escaping the last place to rise to the tenth spot. The greens will be hoping to return with a positive result in order to continue their climb up the standings in the league table.
The eleventh placed Upper Nazareth takes on Dror Kashtan's Hapoel Tel Aviv in a tough home fixture, with every point becoming crucial to break the tie with Kfar Saba. Both Nazareth and Kfar Saba have 30 league points each and are looking to finish in the tenth place which ensures another season in the top flight.
Betar Jerusalem faces a tough away game against Shai Holtzman and Ashdod SC. A victory could move the yellow-andblack into second place in the League table if Hapoel Tel Aviv fail to win. Lior Asulin won't be available due to a two-game suspension following last weeks red card against Maccabi Netanya.
Just like Maccabi Tel Aviv, Betar's future has also been uncertain. But on Thursday General Manager and coach Luis Fernandez finally announced that he will be leaving at the end of the season.
In a hastily organized press conference The Frenchman emphasized what he saw as his successes at Betar.
"I brought Jerome Leroy, Fabrice Fernandez and Igor Mitresky to the club, or else they would not be in Israel," Fernandez said. "Betar's youngsters made a giant leap under the influence of these international stars and people underestimate the importance of this."
In other Saturday games, Hapoel Petah Tikva takes on champion Maccabi Haifa; Maccabi Netanya hosts State Cup finalists Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Petah Tikva faces last placed Bnei Sakhnin in a seemingly easy home fixture.
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