Youth teams win extra time in playing field payments

Following complaints that Herzliya's youth soccer teams are being charged excessive amounts for the use of the city's playing fields, a special municipal committee has agreed to allow the teams to defer up to half their payments to next year, reports The committee, headed by Deputy Mayor Yehonathan Yassur, was set up after councilor Yaron Olami complained that the city was over-charging youth sports teams for the practicing and playing at the city's stadium and playing grounds. According to the report, Olami said it was absurd that the Hapoel Maccabi youth team was being charged more than it received from the city in funding, creating a situation of "negative support." He proposed that the city increase its funding to all youth sports organizations, of which soccer comprises some 65 percent, by NIS 200,000. Olami said that increasing funding on a one-off basis would enable the sports organizations to cancel out their usage fees and would solve the problem for the current year. But Mayor Yael German said that increasing funding to sports teams by NIS 200,000 could get the city into legal trouble, and said that before the support budget was decided for 2010, the criteria for funding would be reconsidered to prevent any repeat of the problem. The council then passed the committee's proposal to defer the payments. Olami responded that delaying the payments would only put the problem off to next year and would not solve it.