Local Soccer: Nimni given five-game ban for outburst

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach insulted referee Eli Hachmon during Saturday's 3-0 victory at Bnei Sakhnin.

Avi Nimni 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Avi Nimni 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Avi Nimni was suspended for five matches by the Israel Football Association disciplinary court on Monday after insulting referee Eli Hachmon during Saturday's 3-0 victory at Bnei Sakhnin. Nimni, who was found innocent by the court of physically attacking fourth referee Ziv Adler and of defying the referee's instructions to leave the pitch, was also given a NIS 5,000 fine and a suspended fine of NIS 20,000 should he be found guilty of a similar offense in the next year. Nimni was sent off at the start of the second half of Maccabi's match at Doha Stadium on Saturday following his outburst towards the officials after Tel Aviv striker Scott Sealy received a red card. The 37-year-old, who took over as coach after Ran Ben-Shimon was sacked eight games into the season, didn't attend his hearing and instead, sent a letter to explain his actions. He apologized for his behavior and explained that he is a young coach, in his first season on the touchline, and claimed that his conduct was a result of his team being discriminated against by referees time and again this season. However, Judge Haim Elhadif wasn't impressed by Nimni's explanations and decided to activate the coach's three-match suspended sentence from November 2008 and also suspended him for a further two matches. "It's a shame that a figure adored by so many fans lost control during a match, contrary to the sporting image he displayed as an athlete," Elhadif wrote in the ruling. "If I could, I would order Nimni to work as a referee's assistant for five matches so he would understand that side of the game."