Shilo backs Luzon as police investigates IFA chairman

Israel Football Association calls for police to wrap up probe into match-fixing as soon as possible.

Israel Football Association CEO Ori Shilo called on police to wrap up their investigation into match-fixing as soon as possible on Thursday, while promising that the 2011/12 Premier League season will go ahead as scheduled, despite the ominous cloud hanging over local soccer.
The investigation first surfaced with the arrest of Hapoel Petah Tikva directors Tomer Sinai and Gal Hatzor earlier this week on suspicion of fixing games and bribing a referee.
IFA chairman Avi Luzon, former Hapoel Petah Tikva coach Yuval Naim and Hapoel Haifa coach Nitzan Shirazi are among those to have been questioned by police.
Naim was even arrested on Wednesday and will remain remanded at least until Friday.
One of the matches police is looking into is Hapoel Haifa’s 3- 2 victory over Hapoel Petah Tikva late last season.
Hapoel Ashkelon striker Ilya Yavruyan was questioned in connection with the investigation on Thursday for allegedly having a NIS 30,000 gambling debt to Sinai.
“These are not easy times for Israeli soccer,” Shilo said at IFA headquarters at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Thursday.
“The ramifications of this investigation affect all of Israeli soccer.
We call on the police to complete its investigation as quickly as possible so that we can get back to regular business.”
Shilo also criticized police for the way it handled Luzon’s questioning on Wednesday.
“There is no way that Luzon has any connection with such allegations. It hurts us that he was dragged into this but he is not suspected of any wrongdoing,” said Shilo, who also promised that the IFA will take further steps to try and keep out criminal elements from Israeli soccer.
“It is okay to question any person and no one is above the law. But the way the IFA chairman was treated was both wrong and unfair.”