Israeli football officials mull suspension for matches on Sabbath

Jerusalem, Sep 7 (IANS) Officials from the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and the Israeli League have decided to meet on Tuesday to consider suspending all matches next weekend until further notice, after Israeli minister of economy Aryeh Deri refused to authorise players to work during the Jewish Sabbath.

During the meeting of IFA and Israeli League officials, a decision will be taken after several weeks of waiting for the minister’s approval, which was necessary after a judge warned last month that professional players, as well as all staff involved in lower leagues, violate the law through playing games on Saturdays, reports Efe.

The problem lies in the fact that Deri is an ultra-Orthodox Shas party member and reluctant to sign an order that goes against his religious beliefs.

IFA officials told Yediot Aharonot newspaper that the Israeli economy ministry is considering the possibility that the decision could be signed by an official authorised by the minister, to avoid losing votes in future elections.

Officials added that IFA and the Israeli League would suspend all fooball activities indefinitely if no legal solution is agreed before Tuesday’s meeting, because the judicial warning stipulated that they “cannot continue to violate the law”.

This possible suspension would affect 30,000 players from professional leagues and youth, as well as workers.

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