Hap TA slapped with three-point deduction

Reds must also play three games in front of empty stands for derby violence.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 390 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv 390
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped two places to fourth position in the Premier League standings on Sunday after being deducted three points by the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court for the violent behavior of its fans in last week’s derby defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Bloomfield Stadium looked more like a war zone than a soccer arena in the aftermath of last Monday’s 1-0 derby loss, Hapoel’s first in four years, with Hapoel fans hurling flag poles and anything else they possibly could onto the pitch.
Referee Menashe Mashiah and his team were stranded on the pitch for over 15 minutes together with Maccabi players, with police eventually arresting 24 Hapoel supporters, with one Maccabi fan spending the night in hospital after being hit by a flare fired from outside the stadium.
The IFA court found Hapoel guilty on Sunday of unsporting conduct, unruly fan behavior and the entering of fans onto the field of play.
It sentenced the Reds to host three matches in front of empty stands, the closure of gates 4-5 at Bloomfield until the end of the season and a NIS 40,000 fine, as well as deducting it three points.
As a result, Hapoel dropped to 45 points on the season and fell behind both Ashdod SC and Bnei Sakhnin in the standings ahead of Monday’s visit to Maccabi Haifa.
Hapoel players Avihai Yadin and Salim Toama, who were both sent off in stoppage time last week, were also handed severe sentences on Sunday for their part in the derby unrest.
Yadin was suspended an unprecedented 12 matches after being found guilty of insulating the referee and disorderly conduct, while Toama will miss six games for similar charges.
“We will appeal this sentence,” an official Hapoel statement read. “This is a much harsher punishment than we deserved.”
A day after climbing out of the relegation zone with a 3-2 win at Maccabi Petah Tikva, Betar Jerusalem received further good news on Sunday when the IFA’s High Court partially accepted its appeal, reducing its sentence of hosting three matches away from Teddy Stadium to just one.
Betar was handed the harsh original punishment following fan trouble in matches against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa and went on to claim that the IFA courts discriminate against it.
However, the High Court decided on Sunday to reduce the club’s penalty, sentencing it to host just one home match 30 kilometers away from Teddy, rather than three, although the eastern stand in the stadium will remain closed for two more of Betar’s home games.
“We are happy that the court reduced our punishment and decided not to hurt Betar and allow it to host its relegation battles at home,” a club statement read. “We would have liked to host all our matches at Teddy, but we believe that our fans will come and support us in exemplary fashion in our match away from Teddy the way they did in Petah Tikva on Saturday.”
Also Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv jumped to fifth place in the standings with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Haifa at Bloomfield, recording consecutive victories for the first time in 2012.
Eliran Atar scored his 10th league goal of the season in the eighth minute to give Maccabi the lead before defender Shiran Yeini doubled the advantage with a header eight minutes from the break.