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
Beitar Jerusalem F.C.
Beitar Jerusalem Football club is an Israeli professional football club from Jerusalem, Israel. Founded in 1936 and plays in the Israeli Premier League, Beitar were the 1986–87, 1992–93, 1996–97, 1997–98 and 2006–07, 2007–08 champions of the Israeli Premier League and the winners of Israeli Cup, and Israeli Supercup. The club is based at the Teddy Stadium in the Malha neighborhood, Beitar Jerusalem was founded in 1936 by David Horn as a youth team. The first games were held against Armenian and Arab teams in Jerusalem, the club was dismantled in 1938 after one of its managers was arrested by the British Mandate authorities and another was shot and injured in another incident. Beitars troubles were linked to its connections with the Irgun underground with which David Horn. In 1942, the club was reestablished, this time as a club for adults rather than just a youth team, politics again became a problem, with British soldiers and policemen often attending Beitar games to spy and identify the faces of the players. 15 April 1944, Beitar Jerusalem – Plebis 1–1,22 April 1944, Beitar Jerusalem – Plebis 2–2. 13 May 1944, Beitar Jerusalem – Plebis 3–2,20 May 1944, Beitar Jerusalem – Allwain 1–3. Later, Beitar Jerusalem qualified for the final, which was to be held against the team of the Paymasters of the British mandate, on 19 October 1944, several club players were among 251 persons who were deported to Eritrea, Kenya and Sudan by the British Mandate Authorities. Among the deportees were David Horn and Rabinovich and some members of Beitar Jerusalems First team of 1936, a Beitar Jerusalem team was set up in Gilgil where many deportees played in city-of-origin based teams. A big running away plan was made involving a tunnel dug from the centre of a pitch in old Gilgil detention camp in Kenya. Two of the deportees were murdered by Sudanese guards for an alleged escaping attempt, all living deportees reached Israel in July 1948. With Shmuel Kirshtein left in Jerusalem, Beitar continued to exist in Jerusalem in its name, both games were held in Beirut. The British ambassador intervened, suggesting that the Union Jack is raised instead of the Eretz Yisrael flag, simon Alfasi, Shimon Stern, Yisrael Yehezqel and goalkeeper Yosef Meyuhas were the Beitar Jerusalem players in the trip. In 1946, Beitar Jerusalem qualified to the 2nd round of the Cup Games against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the scores were a 3–3 and a loss 3–2 in game 2. Simon Alfasi scored all five goals for the club, three in the first and two in the second, on 8 August 1947, all Beitar clubs were banned by the British mandate authorities. The club name was changed to Nordiah Jerusalem, before a league was set up in Jerusalem district in November 1947. During the war, Beitar Jerusalem player Asher Benjamin was killed by the British when he entered to a British camp in Jerusalem, in 1951–52 season, the club integrated into Liga Bet southern part, then the second tier
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