Football in Israel
Football is the most popular sport in Israel. Football as a sport, first developed in the United Kingdom. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Israel Football Association was not affiliated with any confederation, during this period, the Israeli national teams were only playing in FIFA competitions occasionally in OFC, UEFA and CONMEBOL qualifying tournaments. Finally it was admitted to UEFA as a member in 1992 and as a full member in 1994. The Israel Football Association is the body of football in the State of Israel. All of Israels professional football clubs must be members, and hundreds of semi-professional, as of 2013–14, the Israeli football league system has five levels and 16 different divisions, all run by the IFA. Promotion and relegation operates between each level, theoretically allowing clubs to progress from bottom to top four seasons. The State Cup is the Israeli equivalent of the English FA Cup and it is a straightforward knock-out cup. The final is played at the Ramat Gan Stadium and the winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa League, the Toto Cup is the Israeli equivalent of the English League Cup, the main difference being that there is a separate cup for each of the three national divisions. The cup is played first in a stage, with the highest placed teams qualifying for the knock-out stages. Like the State Cup, the final is played at the National Stadium, clubs who do well in either the Premier League or State Cup qualify to compete in various UEFA-organised Europe-wide competitions in the following season. The number of Israeli clubs playing in Europe in any one season can range four to six. Any clubs playing in the UEFA Champions League that will finish third in the stage will go into the UEFA Europa League round of 32 Israel hosted. Israel qualified for the World Cup in 1970 which was held in Mexico, mordechai Spiegler scored in a 1–1 draw against Sweden. Israels Olympic football team qualified for the 1968 Summer Olympics and the 1976 Summer Olympics both times reaching the quarter finals, Israels highest FIFA ranking was 15th in November 2008. During the British Mandate for Palestine, organized football consisted mainly of British and Jewish clubs, although Arab clubs also existed and took part in IFA competitions. As early as 1906, Maccabi Tel Aviv was formed as a club, followed by a string of Maccabi clubs in other cities and towns, such as Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Haifa, Zikhron Yaakov. On 24 April 1924, Hapoel Haifa was formed, shortly after formation, they joined the World Maccabi Organization
Hapoel Be'er Sheva F.C.
Hapoel Beer Sheva Football Club is an Israeli football club from the city of Beersheba, that competes in the Israeli Premier League. The club was founded in 1949, and businesswoman Alona Barkat has run it since 2007, the club also includes youth groups, teens and children, and football schools. The home uniform colors of the club are red and white, until 1959, the club played its home games at a stadium that was located in the old city of Beersheba. In 1960, the moved to Vasermil Stadium. Starting from the 2015–16 season, the ground of the team is Turner Stadium. The club won its first league title in 1975, over the years, the team has won three league titles, three Toto Cups, three Super Cups and one Lilian Cup. Hapoel Beer Sheva were formed in 1949 by Zalman Casspi, casspis ambition was to build a successful team full of talented young players. The clubs first game was against a team from Mefalsim, a kibbutz in Southern Israel, the Mefalsim team was mostly made up of immigrants from South America. The game was played in a stadium in Beer Shevas Old City, at this time Hapoel played in a league with only four other clubs. Hapoel drew their games against Hapoel Rishon LeZion, Hapoel Kfar Saba, in their other game against Hapoel Ramat Gan Beer Sheva lost 4–3. In 1952, the disbanded, but were re-established 3 years later and were granted entry into the Liga Gimel. In the 1956/57 season, the team finished at the top of the league under new manager Yosef Azran, in their final game of the season, they played against Jaffa, winning 5–0, a win which gained them promotion to Liga Bet. Following the clubs promotion to Liga Bet, they appointed Lonia Dvorin as their new manager and he was replaced by Jack Gibbons, who had previously managed Hapoel Petah Tikva to five national titles as well as being the head coach of the Israel National team. In the first game under Gibbons, they played against ZVI Single, however, Hapoel felt that ZVI had played illegally and reported them to the league, which resulted in Hapoel winning the points. In the second game against Maccabi Shaarayim Hapoel won 2–0, the final game against Hapoel Natanya, a 2–1 win for Beer Sheva, granted them promotion to Liga Alef. In 1958/59 Jack Gibbons left the club and was replaced by Yehiel Moore, in 1959/60 the team moved to a new stadium and invited Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta to officially open the stadium, the Cypriot side won the game 2–1. At the beginning of the 1960s the team did not try to promote to a higher league, but in 1961–62 the club decided to bring in a foreign coach, Rober Eryol. Eryol was the only Jewish player who played at the time in the Turkey national team
F. C. Ashdod is an Israeli football club, playing in the port city of Ashdod. The unorthodox name of the team is the result of the union of two city rivals, Hapoel Ashdod and Maccabi Ironi Ashdod, during the clubs first years, its kit colors were completely blue. When Haim Revivo took a prominent role in the club. The decision was made that the kit should incorporate two of the clubs colors, Hapoel having been red and Maccabi yellow and blue. The club was not immediately successful after the merger, and fan support was lacking, during the 2004–05 season, they reached their greatest achievement, a third-place finish in the Israeli Premier League and a berth in the UEFA Cup. The club also reached the final of the Toto Cup, only to go out on penalty kicks and their first time in a continental competition was not a memorable one, as they went out to the Slovenian PrvaLiga runners-up, NK Domžale. Prior to the 2014–15 season, the club added Ironi to its name. C, Hapoel Ashdod, and was eventually disciplined. Furthermore, the club was punished by FIFA with six points deduction for failing to pay an award to Nigerian club, Kaduna United. As a result, the club has dropped to the bottom place in the Israeli Premier League. However, in a decision, FIFA reversed its decision after it was found out that the club did pay the arbitration award. In the 2015–16 season, the club won Liga Leumit and made a return to the Israeli Premier League
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
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