Zahavi punished by IFA for insubordination

Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder given permission to take part in a family celebration but didn’t even show up for team breakfast the next morning.

March 31, 2011 07:22
2 minute read.
Eran Zahavi

ERAN ZAHAVI 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)


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Eran Zahavi was suspended for one Premier League match by the Israel Football Association disciplinary court on Wednesday after being cut from the national team squad last week for showing a “lack of respect”.

The Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder was given permission to take part in a family celebration last Monday night, but despite being told to return to the team’s hotel by midnight, he never slept at the hotel and didn’t even show up for the team breakfast on Tuesday morning.

Zahavi missed Israel’s victories over Latvia and Georgia and will now also have to sit out Hapoel’s league match against Hapoel Petah Tikva on Monday, as well as receiving a three-match suspended sentence for two years.

Tel Aviv officials were outraged by the fact that Zahavi was suspended from a club match for a disciplinary issue which occurred with the national team, but IFA chairman Avi Luzon said the midfielder had to be punished.

“Eran Zahavi made a mistake and he knows it and has admitted to it,” Luzon said.

“I hope no player ever repeats his mistake. It is a great privilege to play for Israel.”

Israel boosted its hopes of reaching Euro 2012 with two wins in four days, but has still got plenty of work to do to reach the European Championships for the first time.

The six points took Israel to third position in Group F, tied on 10 points with second- placed Croatia and one point behind Greece, but the blue-and-white has played one more match than its main rivals.

“Even had we lost both matches Fernandez would have stayed,” Luzon said.

“I’m hoping he can guide the team to Euro 2012 and then his contract will be extended automatically.”

Israel visits Latvia in its next qualifier on June 4, before hosting Greece on September 2 and ending its campaign with two road matches in Croatia on September 6 and Malta on October 11.

The national team will likely need to win at least three of its remaining four matches to have a chance of a top-two finish.

The group winner will advance automatically to the European Championships, with the best second- placed team from the nine groups to also progress directly to Euro 2012 and the remaining secondplaced finishers to play in a playoff round.

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