Seven Suggestions For The IFA
In recent light of negative events in Israeli soccer, including allegations of fixing games, blackmail, and delinquent owners; We here at Israel football have decided to come up with seven suggestions for the improvement of Israeli football as a whole.
One. Anytime a club is up for a sale, the prospective owner(s) need to be properly vetted by the IFA. Any individuals, groups or entities with shady underworld links, police investigations in the past, questionable business practices, domestic and foreign criminal convictions or indictments should be ruled out from having any involvement in Israeli football. If an owner has no previous past dealings that would involve him in such situations, but then runs into misconduct while owning a club, the IFA would have the right to seize the club from the owner or force the owner to sell the club. Current examples of those who would be affected include Prosper Azgi, Arkady Gaydamak, and Tomer Sinai among others.
Two. Currently the IFA requires clubs in Ligat Ha’al to have a minimum budget that is funded by the club. However this needs to change to requiring the owners to fund the minimum, and if not the club needs be put in administration or sold as stated in the previous article.
Three. No loans can be taken out against a club, nor can any club borrow money. One thing that most clubs in Israel have avoided is large debts. However as budgets grow, the temptation to borrow will only increase.
Four. Require all clubs to invest one fifth of their budget into the youth department of the club. This is a win-win situation as players developed from the youth setup cost considerably less than bringing an outside player for a transfer fee. Also the national team and league will benefit as the quality of the players and league should improve. The best example is Germany which has overtaken Italy as the third best league in UEFA after a decade of requiring clubs to invest in youth football.
Five. Stop playing games on Saturdays . Nearly 1/5th of Israel’s Jewish population observes the Jewish Sabbath and that number is growing. This group numbers over a million people. Many of them are soccer fans but have to follow Jewish laws of observance. By making the game more inclusive, Israeli football clubs can increase their fanbase, revenue, and potential pool of players.
Six. Term limits of four years need to be put in place for leadership positions in the IFA. The current head of the IFA Avi Luzon has put in some good ideas and some bad ones. Under his leadership Israel won the UEFA U-21 championships for 2013, however we also have seen many allegations of corruption and nepotism under his reign, as well as the collapse of Beitar Jerusalem, of one the big four clubs in Israel. He has been there too long and has way too much power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Seven. A restructuring of the league to include 16 teams, no playoff format, and the relegation of three teams to the second division and the promotion of three teams. Currently the IFA just voted to shrink the league to 14 teams as well as to keep the playoff format. However If Ligat Ha’al has 16 teams this gives an opportunity to more players to prove themselves in Israel’s highest division. More competition is better, not less.