Israeli Premier League
The Israeli Premier League is an Israeli professional league for association football clubs. It is the highest tier of the professional Israeli football league system, contested by 14 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Liga Leumit. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 32 matches each, five games are played on Saturdays, with one game played on Sundays and one game on Mondays. It is sponsored by Toto Winner and therefore known as Ligat Winner. The competition formed on 1999 following the decision of the Israeli Football Association to form a new league, since 1923, a total of 14 clubs have been crowned champions of the Israeli football system. The current champions are Hapoel Beer Sheva, who won the 2015–16 season, the Israeli Premier League was created in 1999 to replace Liga Leumit when the Israel Football Association decided to reshuffle all the leagues in hopes of improving competition. In its first season there were 14 clubs, the top thirteen clubs from the 1998–99 season and that season three clubs were relegated and one from Liga Leumit was promoted. Over the years the league has changed names though the new names were simply commercial rebranding, including Ligat Pelephone, Ligat Toto, there are 14 clubs in the league. At the end of season, the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Liga Leumit while two highest-placed teams of Liga Leumit are promoted in their place. For the 2012–13 season the league was decreased from 16 to 14 clubs as a result of reforms passed by the IFA on 27 June 2011, the participating clubs first play a conventional round-robin schedule for a total of 26 matches. Following this, the top six teams play in a championship playoff, upon its conclusion, the first place team wins the Israeli championship and qualifies to participate in the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up and the third-placed teams qualify for the qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. In Addition, the Israeli State Cup winners qualify for the qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. If the State Cup winners are also one of the teams to finish in the top three places then the fourth-placed team will also play in Europa League. In case the State Cup winners also win the Israeli Premier League then the league team will play in Europa League second qualifying round. In addition, the eight teams will play each other once to avoid two relegation spots. A total of 27 clubs have played in the Israeli Premier League from its inception in 1999, for a list of winners and runners-up of the Israeli Premier League since its inception, and top scorers for each season, see List of Israeli football champions. Four clubs have been members of the Israeli Premier League for every season since its inception and this group is composed of Beitar Jerusalem, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, and Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C.
Hapoel Tel-Aviv Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Tel Aviv. The club currently competes in the Israeli Premier League and plays its matches at the Bloomfield Stadium. To date, the club has won thirteen championships and sixteen State Cups, in 1967 Hapoel Tel Aviv became the first club to win the Asian Club Championships. It is also one of only 3 Israeli teams to have qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage, the club name, Hapoel, translates to The Worker, and combined with its red Hammer and sickle crest represents the club ties to Socialism and working class. For seven decades, the club was owned by Israeli largest trade union, Hapoel Tel Aviv F. C. was originally established in 1923, but was disbanded soon after. The club was re-formed in 1925, and then for a time in May 1926. In 1927 the club merged with Allenby F. C. giving the club its modern form and it is part of the Hapoel sports association which was affiliated with the Histadrut trade union, and supporters of the club were often referred to as communists. In 1928 the club reached the Palestine Cup final, although they beat Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem 2–0, Hapoel fielded an ineligible player, resulting in the cup being shared. The 1934–35 season saw Hapoel led the table, but the championship was abandoned. The 1937–38 season ended the way, with Hapoel top of the league. In the meantime, the won the cup again in 1937,1938 and 1939. In 1939–40 they won their second championship, the following season no national championships were held, but the club won the tournament for Hapoel-affiliated clubs. Following Israeli independence, Hapoel joined the new Israeli League and they won the title in 1956–57 and the State Cup in 1961, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 2–1. In the 1965–66 season Hapoel won the title, and qualified for the first Asian Club Championships, in the tournament Hapoel were given byes all the way to the final, where they beat Selangor 2–1 to become Asias first club champions. The club also reached the State Cup final that year, Hapoel won the title again in 1968–69, and again qualified for the Asian Club championships. Although they reached the final, they lost 2–1 to Iranian side Taj Club, the following season they reached the cup final again, but lost 1–0 to Hapoel Yehud. A hat-trick of cup final defeats was avoided when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 3–2 in the 1982 final, another title was won in 1985–86, and another in 1987–88. However, the following season Hapoel finished bottom of the league and were relegated to the second tier for the first time in their history
Hapoel Haifa F.C.
Hapoel Haifa Football Club is an Israeli football club located in Haifa. The club won one championship and 3 Israeli cups, the Team is also known as The Sharks. The clubs home since the early 1990s is the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa, in which they have played since their departure from Kiryat Haim Stadium, the colours of the teams home kit are red throughout. The away colours are white shirts, and black shorts and socks, the beginning of the club was in a local organization founded in Haifa in 1924. This organization included several related to sports, in addition to branches related to worker movements. Their goal was to found the first ever football club in Palestine. The meeting was led by Yehoshua Sherpstein and Yair Aharony, on May 1,1924, Labor Day, was the first match, in which Hapoel Haifa beat 3–1 the train workers of Haifa. In the first years of the club it played friendly matches against different teams from Palestine, Europe. At the beginning Hapoel Haifa was included under the Maccabi union, two years later the club decided to leave Maccabi, and was among the founders of the new union, Hapoel. In 1928 the Israel Football Association was founded, and formal matches were scheduled, In the first 4 years only cup matches, during these years Hapoel Haifa did not win many trophies, yet it was still one of the leading teams in the country. In 1932 the team qualified to its first cup final, against the British Police, the referee was British, and some of the decisions he made were very controversial. During the match, when the score was 1–0 to Hapoel Haifa, after some decisions that the players of Haifa found very odd and unfair, as a result, Hapoel Haifa was disqualified. That year 5 of Haifas players made it to the Palestine squad, in 1950, after the War of Independence, the Israeli League returned to action, and Haifa finished in the 3rd place, after Maccabi and Hapoel Tel-Aviv. Two years later the cup matches were renewed and these years were direct continuation to the seasons before the state of Israel was established, when the team was one of the leaders, yet did not manage to win any trophies. Hapoel was very weak in the early sixties, the team finished 1962–63 one before last, and was supposed to relegate to the second division. But, due to suspicions about improper matches, the relegations were canceled, at this turning point, many talented young players promoted from the youth team, causing a significant improvement that started the clubs best period. In the same season, 1962–63, the won the Israel State Cup. In all of the seasons the team finished in the top third of the league
Liga Leumit is the second tier in the Israeli football league system below the Premier League. There are 16 clubs in the league, at the end of each season, the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Liga Alef while the two highest-placed teams from Liga Alef are promoted in their place. The two highest-placed Liga Leumit teams are promoted to the Israeli Premier League while the two teams from Israeli Premier League are relegated in their place. The participating clubs were first play a conventional round-robin schedule for a total of 30 matches, following this, the top eight teams will first play in a promotion playoff. And the eight clubs play a single round-robin schedule, the Israeli State Cup winners qualify for the third qualifying round of the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League. In addition, the eight teams play out to avoid two relegation spots. Since the 2010–11 season, One match is broadcast live on Sport +5 LIVE channel on Friday or Saturday afternoons, the rest of the matches has no TV cover. Liga Leumit came into existence at the start of the 1955–56 season, however, it was usurped as the top flight in the 1999–2000 season, when it was replaced by the Premier League. Since then it has operated as the tier in the Israeli football league system
Maccabi Petah Tikva F.C.
Maccabi Petah Tikva F. C. is an Israeli football club based in the city of Petah Tikva. It is part of the Maccabi sports club and currently plays in the Israeli Premier League. In 1921, after the death of founder member Avshalom Gisin during the 1921 Palestine riots, the club added his name to the name. In 1927 the club moved to the Maccabi Petah Tikva Ground, in 1935 they won their first piece of silverware, beating Hakoah Tel Aviv 1–0 in the cup final. In 1939 they reached the final again, but lost 2–1 to Hapoel Tel Aviv, the following year they won the Haaretz tournament. The club was included in the new Israeli League in 1949, in the next season they finished as runners-up to champions Maccabi Tel Aviv and also won the State Cup, beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 1–0. In 1953–54 they also finished second with Eliezer Spiegel finishing as the top goalscorer on 16 goals from 22 matches. After several seasons of mid-table finishes, Maccabi finished bottom of the table in 1962–63 and were due to be relegated to Liga Alef, however, the Israel Football Association decided to expand the league from 12 to 15 clubs and they were spared demotion. However, the club was relegated at the end of the 1965–66 season after finishing second from bottom, after two seasons in Liga Alef the club returned to the top division in 1969. At the end of the 1970–71 season the club was relegated again after finishing second from bottom, although Maccabi finished bottom in 1974–75, they were again reprieved from relegation due to league expansion. However, after a performance in 1976–77 they did go down. After making another return to the top flight, the club maintained several mid-table finishes. In 1990 and 1991 the club won the Liga Artzit Toto Cup and they returned to the top division in 1991 and have remained there since. In 1995 the club won the top divisions Toto Cup for the first time, in 2001 the club reached the cup final for the first time in 49 years, losing 3–0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 2003–04 they finished third, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, however, the home leg of their third qualifying round tie against SC Heerenveen was cancelled by UEFA due to a baggage handlers strike, and they lost the away leg 5–0. In 2004–05 the club finished second in the league and qualified for the UEFA Cup again and this time they were more successful, beating Macedonian side FK Baskimi 11–0 on aggregate, before knocking out Partizan Belgrade. However, in the stage they finished bottom having lost all four matches. As of 1 February 201604 – Morad Megamadov, Center back, the club played at the Maccabi Petah Tikva ground between 1926 and the 1970s