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
Maccabi Haifa F.C.
Maccabi Haifa Football Club is an Israeli professional football club, based in City of Haifa, a section of Maccabi Haifa sports club. The club plays in the Israeli Premier League, Maccabi Haifa home games are played at Sammy Ofer Stadium. The stadium, which is shared with rivals Hapoel Haifa, is the second largest in Israel football, Maccabi Haifa is one of four clubs in the Big Four in Israeli football. It has won twelve League titles, Six State Cups and four Toto Cups, Maccabi has won the championship and the cup in the same season one time, and was the First Israeli club to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Maccabi Haifa Football Club was established in 1913 in the city of Haifa. It was a small, struggling club that spent most of its time shifting between Liga Leumit and the lower leagues, the club was overshadowed by its city rival Hapoel Haifa. But even in its first years the club adapted a very adventurous and offensive style of play based on technique, in 1942, the club reached the Israel State Cup final, but was defeated 12–1 by Beitar Tel Aviv in the final. In 1962, the team defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 5–2 in the State Cup final, in 1963 it reached the final again, but lost to Hapoel Haifa 1–0 in the first Haifa derby in State Cup final. In the 1980s Maccabi Haifa finally entered the Israeli champions club, in the 1983–84 season Maccabi Haifa won its first ever championship, under coach Shlomo Sharf and general manager Yochanan Vollach, overcoming Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv. The Yerukim were known for their all-around-offense and flashy technique football style, often resulting in bad defensive formation, a year later, Maccabi Haifa won a second championship in a decisive performance. In 1986 Maccabi lost the championship in a final match against runners-up Hapoel Tel Aviv. Due to poor TV coverage, the issue has never been resolved, in 1988, Maccabi Haifa decimated Maccabi Tel Aviv 10–0 to earn its biggest win ever. That game, one of the famous in Israelis football lore. Furthermore, it probably was the beginning of the rivalry between the two clubs. In 1989, under the hands of Amazzia Levkovic, the club won another championship. In 1990 Maccabi Haifa established itself as a dominant club in Israel, in 1992 Maccabi Haifa was purchased by Yaakov Shahar, who became the owner and president of the club. Under Shahars management, Maccabi Haifa enjoyed financial stability and professional working regulations on a par with European football clubs standards, Maccabi Haifas highlight season was 1993–94. After winning the 1993 cup, Maccabi Haifa gave a performance in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, beating Torpedo Moscow 3–1 and Parma 1–0 in the last 16
Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv F.C.
Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv F. C. commonly known as just Bnei Yehuda, is an Israeli football club from the Hatikva Quarter of Tel Aviv. The club is currently a member of the Israeli Premier League, the club was formed in January 1936 by Nathan Sulami and his friends. It was named after Judah, because the decision on its formation occurred during the week when the Torah portion of Vayigash is read in the Synagogue, Sulami and his friends were first promoted to the top division in 1959. Two seasons later they narrowly avoided relegation, finishing second from bottom, in 1965 the club reached the State Cup final for the first time, but lost 2–1 to Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 1968 they reached the final again, this time beating Hapoel Petah Tikva to claim their first piece of major silverware, after several near-misses, the club was relegated at the end of the 1971–72 season after finishing second from bottom. However, they made a return as Liga Alef champions but were relegated again in 1976. In the 1977–78 season the club were promoted back to the top division as Liga Artzit champions, and also reached the State Cup final, the following season the club finished fourth in Liga Leumit. The 1980–81 season was the clubs best so far, managed by Shlomo Sharf they finished second in the league and reached the cup final again, this time beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 4–3 after a penalty shootout. However, the success was not maintained, and they were relegated at the end of the 1983–84 season, the club made an immediate return as Liga Artzit champions and finished second in 1986–87. The 1989–90 season saw the club win its first, and to date only, two seasons later they won the Toto Cup for the first time, repeating the feat in 1997. The 2000–01 season saw Bnei Yehuda finish second from bottom of the Premier League, however, they made an immediate return as Liga Leumit runners-up. The club have remained in the Premier League since, in 2005–06 they reached the cup final, losing 1–0 to Hapoel Tel Aviv, but also qualifying for Europe for the first time. In the 2006–07 UEFA Cup they lost 6–0 on aggregate to Lokomotiv Sofia and had to play their match in Senec in Slovakia due to security concerns. In the 2009–10 season Bnei Yehuda reached the European League play-off, after starting in the first qualifying round, the following season they reached the second qualifying round of the Europa League, but lost to Shamrock Rovers. From 2009–10 to the 2012–13 season, Bnei Yehuda managed to finish regularly in the top 3–4 ranks of the Israeli Premier League which won her participation in the European League qualifying, following the success, the group became a springboard for players. Many players who were remarkable in the ranks of Bnei Yehuda have moved or were sold to bigger clubs, in the 2013–14 season, Bnei Yehuda finished bottom and relegated to Liga Leumit. However, they made a return to the Premier League as the 2014–15 Liga Leumit champions. For most of its existence, Bnei Yehuda played at the Hatikva Neighborhood Stadium in the Hatikva Quarter of Tel Aviv
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