Petition to move soccer games to weekdays

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Members of Knesset (parliament) presented the Israel Football Association (IFA) with a petition to move games to weekdays instead of on the Sabbath, which is to be observed as a day of rest.

IFA Chairman Itzhak Menahem and Secretary-General Haim Zimmer met with parliament members Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) and Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad) on Sunday to discuss changing league matches to weekdays.

“Desecration of Shabbat is a very critical matter to a significant population in Israel,” said Ariel, stressing this was not religious coercion, “but doing things in a way that is fair and considerate of the entire public.”

“The main problem is that that youngsters can only come on Saturdays, since they have school on Sundays and Fridays,” said Vilan. “There is also the problem of funding. Most of the income comes from games at hours where there are high ratings and this is Saturdays, we cannot reach such ratings on Fridays or Sundays.”

Moving games from Saturdays to weekdays is not easy and depends on a number of factors, including cable broadcasting, lotto tickets and sports betting venues, which the IFA fears could cause a drop in fan interest.

Yet, sporting teams for years now have attempted to move games to Saturday nights, after the Sabbath, allowing all fans to attend the games.

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