Soccer women cry foul on funding

The Ramat Hasharon women's soccer team is suing the city for more than NIS 600,000, claiming that it has discriminated against the team and deprived it of funds for years, reports The women, who recently began their fourth season in the top league, say that despite having promised to do so, the city has not paid them one shekel in recent years, and shows no signs of coming up with the money. According to the report, the women have issued a lawsuit against the city in the Court for Procedural Matters, demanding NIS 353,000 for the 2007 season and NIS 250,000 for the 2008 season. A lawyer for the team said that while the city had been promising funding since 2007, and while Mayor Itzik Rochberger told the team manager last year that the budget had been approved in principle and needed only to be approved by the city council, nothing had happened since. "We are demanding that the court order the city to stop the discrimination and deprivation against the team," the lawyer said. "It is not possible that a team that meets all the criteria set by the city still does not get support. This is against proper managerial procedures, and this is without even speaking about justice and equality... It is a shame that in recent years the city has supported the (men's) soccer team with large sums while the women's team, which is managed properly and meets the criteria, does not get any funding. It is manifestly clear that the city is not interested in the women's team and is doing everything so that it will no longer exist." But a municipal spokesman said the city placed great importance on advancing all branches of sport in the city and invested large sums of money for their benefit. The spokesman said there were clear procedures for obtaining municipal funding for a sports team, and the women's soccer team "does not yet meet these criteria."