BSL gives players a deadline amid strike stalemate

Week 22 slate of BSL’s regular season not played after league and players union fail to agree on number of foreigners on each team.

Oded Katash and Jerome Tillman 521 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Oded Katash and Jerome Tillman 521
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
The BSL has threatened to cancel the rest of the 2012/13 season should the players refuse to end their strike by the weekend.
The Week 22 slate of the BSL’s regular season was not played on Sunday after the league and the Israeli players union failed to reach an agreement regarding the number of foreigners on each team.
The BSL initially announced that the games will be played on Wednesday and Thursday instead, but following a breakdown in talks it has rescheduled the action for Saturday night.
“This is a last call to the players to come back and play,” said BSL chairman Shmuel Frenkel. “The BSL has accepted the players’ position and has agreed that four foreigners will no longer be able to be on court at the same time.
“It would be a grave mistake for the players to force the BSL to discuss the closing down of the league next week.”
The players union announced a strike last week, claiming that the league is unwilling to down-scale the number of foreign players allowed both on each roster and on the floor at any given time during a game.
At the start of this season, each team was permitted to choose to register either four or six foreigners to a game.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Maccabi Tel Aviv were the only two teams which decided to register six foreigners and in doing so agreed to have at least two Israeli players on the floor at any given point in a game.
The BSL announced after a meeting on Friday that it had made its final offer to the players, labeling it as a “revolutionary” plan to promote the local player.
The league offered that every team will be required to play with two Israelis at all times and will only be allowed to register a maximum of five foreigners.
The BSL also said that it will compel all teams to have at least three Israeli players under the age of 22 on their rosters, with the agreement to be enforced over the next five seasons.
However, the players union is demanding that teams will only be allowed to register four foreigners to a game over the next three years, and just three non-Israeli players in the two years after that.
Hapoel Eilat coach Oded Katash called for the players to return to the court.
“The strike is causing severe damage to the teams and the owners,” Katash said. “Unfortunately, the players don’t see the entire picture. They are looking for the problem in the wrong place, especially in the middle of the season.
“There are no Israeli players who deserve to play at the moment and aren’t playing.
When there are players who deserve to play it is our interest as coaches to promote them at the expense of a foreigner.”