Local Soccer: Matches postponed pending Betar appeal

All Premier League matches called off after clubs express anger at Herzliya getting technical win.

beitar jerusalem 88 (photo credit: )
beitar jerusalem 88
(photo credit: )
The Israel Football Association board voted unanimously on Thursday to postpone this weekend's Premier League matches. Enraged by the fact that Maccabi Herzliya was given a technical victory over Betar Jerusalem after the latter's fans stormed the pitch during last Sunday's match, the league's clubs convened an emergency board meeting on Thursday. All 27 board members voted in favor of putting off this weekend's matches for a week so that they'll be played after the appeal of the tribunal's decision is heard this coming Monday in the IFA's High Court. "The board has unanimously decided that regardless of the IFA's High Court decision all the board members will be committed to it, will honor it, will act by it, will stand behind it and will not appeal it in any way. The board members are committed to doing everything so that the season will end in a sporting way," the IFA's board decision read. IFA chairman Avi Luzon, who originally objected to postponing the matches, was keen to stress on Thursday that the decision wasn't forced on the IFA. "I would like to emphasize that no one, not the teams or anybody else, forced the IFA or its chairman to fold," he said. "The matter is very simple. We checked ourselves and gave ourselves a bit of breathing space to make sure that everybody will play in the best possible way. "All the teams are committed to not hurt the sporting spirit and if the postponement of the matches makes them feel better then I will not prevent it. I see no problem in extending the season by one week to May 31. This decision ends this entire fiasco." Hapoel Kfar Saba is one of four teams on 31 points, one less than Herzliya, and its owner Eli Tabib was pleased with Thursday's decision. "I applaud this decision and I think it is right and wise. I believe that the High Court will decide to replay Betar's match against Herzliya and I hope they renew it from the stage from which it was stopped," Tabib said. "It's true that, should the High Court not reverse the tribunal's decision we won't be able to do anything else, but I trust the High Court." Bnei Yehuda is rock-bottom of the league, five points from safety, and the club's owner Hezi Magen was confident that regardless of the High Court's verdict on Monday the IFA's board had made the right decision. "This decision is good for the sport and the league and the fact is that it was unanimous," Magen said. "We will wait for Monday's decision and will accept it whatever it may be. Everybody understood that it would be fair and for the better of the sport if we postponed the matches for a week."