Point-halving done in Premier League

IFA cuts league from 16 to 14 teams for 2012/13 campaign; Match fixing question continues.

Platini Luzon 311  (photo credit: MK Productions)
Platini Luzon 311
(photo credit: MK Productions)
After a two-year experiment, normality will return to the Israeli Premier League next season.
The Israel Football Association board voted Monday to drop the controversial point-halving format by a majority of 24 to five, with one member abstaining.
The IFA also decided to cut the league from 16 to 14 teams for the 2012/13 campaign, with three teams to be relegated this season and only one to gain promotion from the National League.
“The IFA chairman listened to the teams that said that this was a bad and unsporting format and this insanity has finally ended,” said Maccabi Tel Aviv’s delegate on the board, Aviv Bushinsky.
The point-halving format will continue in the National League for next season, but it is expected to be scrapped the following year and IFA chairman Avi Luzon announced Monday that he has no intention of making any further changes after that.
The IFA board also voted in favor of eliminating the midtable playoff, meaning that following two rounds of play the league will be split in two, with the top eight teams playing each other one more time in the battle for the championship and the bottom eight sides facing each other once more in the fight against relegation.
In 2012/13, the championship playoffs will be played by the top six teams only and will consist of two rounds of play.
Meanwhile, the investigation into match fixing continued Monday, with former Hapoel Ashkelon striker Serge Ayeli being questioned for the first time, while Hapoel Haifa coach Nitzan Shirazi and Hapoel Petah Tikva owner Tomer Sinai were called to the police station in Yavne for further interrogation.
Ayeli reportedly told police that during his days at Hapoel Ramat Gan in the 2009/10 season he was approached by someone connected with Hapoel Petah Tikva and was asked not to play in an upcoming match between the teams.
Ayeli scored a goal in Ramat Gan’s 2-1 victory in the match in question.