(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
The ownership saga at Hapoel Tel Aviv finally came to an end on Monday after Tel
Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronen declared that Eli Tabib is the lawful owner
of the club.
Tabib officially bought a 50 percent stake at Hapoel to join
Moni Harel as a co-owner last summer, but it wasn’t long before the two fell out
and began to destroy the club from the inside.
As last season drew to a
close, and with neither side willing to budge, it became clear to both Tabib and
Harel that the club’s existence would be in danger if things wouldn’t
The two-headed monster had to be separated, but as expected, that
as well became a never-ending source of friction.
A Buy-Me-Buy-You (BMBY)
clause was inserted in the original agreement between the two owners, but
neither was wiling to make the initial offer.
The BMBY clause stipulates
that after one side makes an offer the other has to decide either to accept it
or to buy full control for the same amount.
After spreading rumors that
he is looking for an honorable exit, Tabib surprised everyone when he turned
down Harel’s low offer of NIS 6 million and chose to seize control of the
That should have been the end of the story, but Harel quickly
claimed that Tabib hadn’t transferred him the millions as required and appealed
to the Tel Aviv District Court.
Attempts at mediating between the two
owners were fruitless, but finally the turmoil at the club came to a conclusion
on Monday after Ronen approved Tabib’s takeover.
“We didn’t think this
story would end any other way,” Tabib’s representative on the board and the
likely future chairman Doron Osidon said.
“We have been through a tough
period, but I’m happy that this is now all behind us. Now we can focus on what’s
best for the club. We have plenty of work to do.”
As well as possibly
costing Hapoel the Premier League title last season, the squabbling between
Tabib and Harel had also seriously hampered the club’s preparations for the
With each owner having to sign off on any financial
transaction, Harel refused to cooperate with Tabib’s plans and wouldn’t approve
the contracts of coach Dror Kashtan and striker Omer Damari.
following Monday’s decision and Harel’s announcement that he will not appeal,
Hapoel can finally embark on a new course.
Also Monday, the Jerusalem
District Court handed down an injunction on Dan Adler and Adam Levin’s purchase
of Betar Jerusalem following a request by former sponsor Guma
Aguiar claims that he should be paid back the four million
dollars he gave the club two years ago, according to a clause inserted in the
However, it is widely expected that the court will reject
Aguiar’s request next week as Arkadi Gaydamak transferred the club to Adler and
Levin for free.