Soccer League Strike over Sabbath Looms

September 7, 2015  

All soccer games in Israel’s Premier League and National League may be cancelled following the expiration of the ultimatum set by the Soccer Federation and the Leagues’ Administration for a decision regarding Sabbath games. The ultimatum was set for today, Monday, and the Gambling Council has already decided not to include this Saturday’s soccer games in this week’s Toto lottery forms.

An official announcement from the Gambling Council said that “in light of the expected strike, and the uncertainty regarding the holding of the Winner League games in the coming cycle, the Toto has decided not include the games in the upcoming Winner16 form.”

The form will include games from the top European leagues, so as not to harm customers.

The Gambling Council also said that for now, at least, it would not fine the Premier and National League teams for breaking their contract with the Council.

Minister of Sport and Culture Miri Regev (Likud) said Sunday that she is working out a compromise on the matter, but as far as the Federation and the Administration, there has not been a meaningful development yet.

A Labor Court judge, Ariela Giltzer-Katz, ruled that starting on this Shabbat, no professional soccer games may be held in Israel on Sabbath, unless a special Sabbath work permit is issued by the Ministry of Economics.

It is very unlikely that the Ministry will issue such a permit, since it is headed by Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri, who opposes holding soccer games on Sabbath.

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