Local Hoops: Holon owner Dorsman threatens to quit

A month after capturing historic league title, Holon may be forced out of top division.

Hapoel Holon 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Hapoel Holon 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Israeli basketball champion Hapoel Holon's future was thrown into doubt on Tuesday when owner and coach Miki Dorsman announced he is planning to leaving the club. Holon claimed a historic league title less than a month ago with an unforgettable last-second victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the BSL final, the first time Tel Aviv had not won the league in 15 years. However it could also prove to be the last time Holon competes for the championship as Dorsman has claimed he cannot continue to fund the club he has funnelled millions of dollars into over the last six years, attracting foreign players including Chester Simmons and P.J. Tucker. "I have no choice but to leave. I give up," the 42-year-old Dorsman told Sport5. "I searched for people and commercial companies to help me out, but couldn't find any. It's very sad that after six seasons this entire project must come to an end." This is not the first time Dorsman has come threatened to walk out on the team. In November last year he said he would leave the side following the fire-cracker incident at Malha Arena where a security guard was badly injured trying to clear a explosive device from the court during a league game against Hapoel Jerusalem. But after a short holiday he changed his mind and returned to the team. Despite his threat, Dorsman also said on Tuesday that he would reconsider his decision should Holon Mayor Moti Sasson, approach him with a financial solution in the coming days. "One of the first things I said after we won the league title was that if I don't get help I won't stay," Dorsman said. "I have a good taste in my mouth from last season, but I don't want to spend any more of my money." Dorsman, who purchased Holon in 2002, has yet to make any official move, but should he make good on his threat it would have many implications. It's unclear who would run Holon if and when Dorsman goes and if the new management would be able to meet the BSL's minimum budget of $1 million. On Tuesday morning Dorsman was set to meet with Maccabi Rishon Lezion management to finalize a controversial merger between the clubs which had angered fans of both teams. However, Dorsman had a late change of mind and never attended the meeting, deciding instead to announce that he wants to quit Hapoel Holon. Another ramification will be in Europe. Holon won a ULEB Cup berth by claiming the league and, should it not be able to compete in Europe, its place in the competition will likely need to be transferred to another team, probably Hapoel Jerusalem, should Dorsman go. "The BSL board is very sorry Dorsman has decided to leave," BSL spokesman Alon Segal said. "We hope this isn't his final decision. "We will give Hapoel Holon adequate time to determine where it currently stands and to meet the BSL's criteria." Regarding the ULEB Cup, Segal said: "The registration for the ULEB Cup ends on Wednesday. The BSL will ask for an extension so that Holon can still sort everything out. "If Holon won't be able to meet the conditions to compete in the ULEB Cup the BSL will determine which side will replace it."