Luzon cancels soccer games after on-field brawl

Saturday games are canceled after Ramat Gan incident, in which four people are injured; police detain two of those involved.

Soccer brawl- Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod 370 (photo credit: Screenshot)
Soccer brawl- Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod 370
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon responded to a brawl that broke out at a soccer game in Ramat Gan Friday by cancelling all games scheduled for Saturday.
"I am shocked by the events that took place today at the game," Luzon told Channel 2 Friday night. "Unfortunately, we are seeing that (the number of) violent incidents is rising, and after consulting with [Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat] I decided to halt the schedule of games tomorrow."
Four people were lightly injured in a brawl that broke out among players in a game between Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod at Ramat Gan's Weiner Stadium. Police detained two people involved in the violence.
Luzon added that he would hold a meeting with Livnat and police authorities to put together a plan to stem violence in the sport. "I don't want us to reach the point where someone is killed on the field," he told Channel 2. "It is an embarrassment and disgraceful, and I support putting police officers on the field."
Earlier this month, a similar brawl broke out at a game between Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Haifa.
In TV footage of the incident, Hapoel Haifa’s Ali Khatib is clearly seen as throwing a punch at Maccabi’s Danny Preda before being head butted by Petah Tikva goalkeeping coach Ami Genish and allegedly being kicked while on the ground by Yigal Maman, who acted as a steward in the match and is a Petah Tikva fan close to the club’s ownership.
Petah Tikva was also fined NIS 25,000, with Haifa also being handed an identical fine, but no further punishment.
Khatib and Stefan Denkovic from Haifa and Petah Tikva’s Preda were all suspended for three matches for their roles, while Haifa’s Gal Arel was handed a two-match ban.
Genish, who together with Maman is set to stand trial in a criminal court for assaulting Khatib, was suspended from all activity for 18 months.
Allon Sinai contributed to this report.