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Eran Levy celebrates with teammate Amit Ben-Shushan 370.(Photo by: Asaf Kliger)
New governing body set up; Betar grabs 7th straight win
Premier League owners agreed to set up an independent body to run the top flight.
Israeli soccer may have changed forever on Sunday after Premier League owners agreed to set up an independent body to run the top flight and work together towards a brighter future for the local game.

The chairmen of the Premier League’s clubs agreed to work in cooperation with the Israel Football Association, but announced that the new body will control all financial and commercial matters.

“We have decided to set up a body which will work towards finding the solutions needed to improve soccer in Israel,” Maccabi Haifa owner Jacob Shahar announced in a statement he read out on behalf of all the owners after exiting Sunday’s meeting at Kfar Maccabiah.

“This body will take care of the commercial and financial issues of the professional league. This move will be done in cooperation with the Israel Football Association and for that purpose we have chosen Alona Barkat (Hapoel Beersheba), Jacky Ben-Zaken (Ashdod SC), Gil Lev (Maccabi Netanya), Izzy Sheratzky (Ironi Kiryat Shmona) and Jacob Shahar to meet with IFA chairman Avi Luzon in the coming days.”

Shahar and the rest of the chairmen also denounced the protest Hapoel Tel Aviv fans have mounted in recent months against owner Eli Tabib, which has resulted in the latter declaring that he will leave the club, putting it up for sale.

Only Hapoel Petah Tikva and Maccabi Petah Tikva, run by the Luzon family, didn’t send representatives to Sunday’s meeting, which was held following the recent violent brawls that have marred the local game and the growing discontent among many involved in Israeli soccer with the IFA’s futility.

“It is a big achievement to have brought 14 of the league’s 16 chairmen to meet around one table,” said Ben-Zaken. “If we work together we will be able to move forward and find solutions to our problems.”

After hearing of Sunday’s decisions, Luzon said that he would accept the new body as long as it guarantees that every one of the clubs will end up receiving more money than it does at the moment and that it won’t take control until the 2013/14 season, explaining that such a change requires time.

Also Sunday, Betar Jerusalem continued its sensational run, beating Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 1-0 on the road for its seventh straight win.

Avi Rikan scored the only goal of the match from the edge of the area after a nifty team move in the 81st minute, taking Betar up to ninth place above Ramat Hasharon.
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