Avi Luzon 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy IFA)
Israel Football Association CEO Ori Shilo called on police to wrap up their
investigation into match-fixing as soon as possible on Thursday, while promising
that the 2011/12 Premier League season will go ahead as scheduled, despite the
ominous cloud hanging over local soccer.
The investigation first surfaced
with the arrest of Hapoel Petah Tikva directors Tomer Sinai and Gal Hatzor
earlier this week on suspicion of fixing games and bribing a referee.
chairman Avi Luzon, former Hapoel Petah Tikva coach Yuval Naim and Hapoel Haifa
coach Nitzan Shirazi are among those to have been questioned by
Naim was even arrested on Wednesday and will remain remanded at
least until Friday.
One of the matches police is looking into is Hapoel
Haifa’s 3- 2 victory over Hapoel Petah Tikva late last season.
Ashkelon striker Ilya Yavruyan was questioned in connection with the
investigation on Thursday for allegedly having a NIS 30,000 gambling debt to
“These are not easy times for Israeli soccer,” Shilo said at IFA
headquarters at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Thursday.
ramifications of this investigation affect all of Israeli soccer.
on the police to complete its investigation as quickly as possible so that we
can get back to regular business.”
Shilo also criticized police for the
way it handled Luzon’s questioning on Wednesday.
“There is no way that
Luzon has any connection with such allegations. It hurts us that he was dragged
into this but he is not suspected of any wrongdoing,” said Shilo, who also
promised that the IFA will take further steps to try and keep out criminal
elements from Israeli soccer.
“It is okay to question any person and no
one is above the law. But the way the IFA chairman was treated was both wrong