Liga Alef

Liga Alef

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Liga Alef is the third tier of the Israeli football league system
Israeli football league system
The Israeli football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for club football in Israel. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, and allows even the smallest club to dream of rising to the very top of the system. There are...

.

History


League football began in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1949–50, a year after independence. However, the financial and security crises gripping the young nation caused the 1950–51 season to be abandoned before it had started. When football resumed in 1951–52, the new top division went by the name of Liga Alef. The 1952–53 season was also not played, and Liga Alef resumed in 1953–54.

The following season, Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit is the second tier in the Israeli football league system below the Premier League.-Structure:There are 16 clubs in the league. At the end of each season, the lowest-placed team are relegated to Liga Alef while the highest-placed team from Liga Alef are promoted in their place...

 came into existence as the new top division, with Liga Alef becoming the second division. In the summer of 1974, restructuring saw the creation of Liga Artzit
Liga Artzit
Liga Artzit was the third tier of Israeli football after the Premier League and Liga Leumit, and was run by the Israel Football Association.-Structure:...

 as a new second tier, and the second demotion of Liga Alef, as it became the third division. Further restructuring to create the Israeli Premier League in the summer of 1999 saw Liga Alef demoted again, this time to the fourth tier. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Liga Artzit was scrapped as the Premier League and Liga Leumit were expanded to 16 clubs each, with Liga Alef becoming the third tier once more.

Structure


Today, Liga Alef is split into two regional divisions on a north-south basis. Because Israel's northern half is much more densely populated than the desert south
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

, the dividing line between the northern and southern divisions is somewhere between Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 and Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, meaning that the southern "half" covers about three-quarters of the country. Although this inequality is partially offset by the fact that there are so few clubs south of Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

 (Dimona
Dimona
Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, to the south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. Its population at the end of 2007 was 33,600.-History:...

, Yeroham, Mitzpe Ramon
Mitzpe Ramon
Mitzpe Ramon is a town in the Negev desert of southern Israel. It is situated on the northern ridge at an elevation of 860 meters overlooking a sizable erosion cirque known as the Ramon Crater.-History:...

 and Eilat are the only sizable towns south of the city, and currently only Hapoel Arad are in Liga Alef), the northern clubs tend to be clustered in the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 region, making travel to away matches much less of a chore.

Each division has sixteen clubs, who play each other home and away to make a 30-game season. The club finishing top of each regional division is promoted to Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit is the second tier in the Israeli football league system below the Premier League.-Structure:There are 16 clubs in the league. At the end of each season, the lowest-placed team are relegated to Liga Alef while the highest-placed team from Liga Alef are promoted in their place...

, whilst the two second-placed teams have a play-off, with the winner playing-off against the third-bottom team in Liga Leumit for a place in that division. The bottom two from each division are relegated to Liga Bet
Liga Bet
-History:League football started in Israel in 1949–50, a year after independence. However, the financial and security crises gripping the young nation caused the 1950–51 season to be abandoned before it had started. When football resumed in 1951–52, the new top division went by the name of Liga...

, the fourth tier. Coming into Liga Alef are the two or three clubs relegated from Liga Leumit and the four clubs promoted from Liga Bet (the winner of each of the four regional divisions). The clubs are then pooled and assigned to the most geographically appropriate of the two divisions.

Current members


The following clubs are participating in the 2010–11 season:

Liga Alef North
  • Ahi Acre
  • F.C. Karmiel Safed
  • Hapoel Afula
  • Hapoel Asi Gilboa
    Hapoel Asi Gilboa F.C.
    Hapoel Asi Gilboa is an Israeli football club based in Prazon on Mount Gilboa. The club currently plays in the northern division of Liga Alef. Their main rivals are Hapoel Afula....

  • Hapoel Daliyat al-Karmel
  • Hapoel Hadera
    Hapoel Hadera F.C.
    Ironi Sport Eran Hadera–Giv'at Olga F.C. is an Israeli football club from Hadera.The unorthodox name of the team is the result of the union of two city rivals, Hapoel Hadera and Maccabi Hadera....

  • Hapoel Kafr Kanna
  • Ironi Umm al-Fahm
  • Ironi Tiberias
  • Maccabi Ironi Kiryat Ata
    Maccabi Ironi Kiryat Ata F.C.
    Maccabi Ironi Kiryat Ata is an Israeli football club, located in Kiryat Ata. They play in Liga Alef and play at the Kiryat Ata Municipal Stadium.-History:...

  • Maccabi Kafr Kanna
    Maccabi Kafr Kanna F.C.
    Maccabi Kafr Kanna is an Israeli football club based in Kafr Kanna. The club is currently in Liga Artzit and plays its home matches at the Azmi Nassar Stadium, named after Azmi Nassar-History:...

  • Maccabi Kafr Qara
  • Maccabi Tamra
  • Maccabi Tzur Shalom
  • Maccabi Umm al-Fahm
  • Ramot Menashe

Liga Alef South
  • Bnei Eilat
    Bnei Eilat F.C.
    Bnei Eilat Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Eilat. They are currently in Liga Alef South.-Squad:*Lior Amar*Avi Cohen*Idan Elazar*Daniel Kaha*Adar Zino*Abraham Malka*Tamer Noufi*Beni Siman Tov...

  • Bnei Tayibe
  • Hapoel Arad
  • Hapoel Jerusalem
  • Hapoel Kfar Shalem
  • Hapoel Marmorek
  • Hapoel Nahlat Yehuda
  • Ironi Kfar Yona
  • Ironi Netivot
  • Maccabi Amishav Petah Tikva
  • Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen
    Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen F.C.
    Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Ramat Gan. They are currently in Liga Alef.-Notable active & former players:*David Lavi*Vicky Peretz*Liron Vilner*Israel Zviti...

  • Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa
  • Maccabi Kiryat Gat
    Maccabi Kiryat Gat F.C.
    Maccabi Kiryat Gat F.C. is an Israeli football team based in the southern city of Kiryat Gat. To date, the club's best achievement has been promotion to the Premier League as Liga Leumit runners-up in 2001, after holding their nerve to beat Hapoel Beit She'an on the final day of the season...

  • Maccabi Kiryat Malakhi
  • Maccabi Yavne
    Maccabi Yavne F.C.
    Maccabi Yavne is an Israeli football club based in Yavne. They currently play in the South Division of Liga Alef.-History:The club was promoted to Liga Leumit for the first time in 1982. In 1985 they won the Toto Cup, beating Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 in the final...

  • Tzafririm Holon
    Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C.
    Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C. is an Israeli football club based in the city of Holon. The club was founded in 1985 by a merger of Hapoel Holon and Tzafririm Holon.-Hapoel Holon:...


Northern division

Season Winner Relegated
Third tier
1998–99 Hapoel Ra'anana Hapoel Umm al-Fahm
Hapoel Umm al-Fahm F.C.
Hapoel Umm al-Fahm Football Club was an Israeli football club based in Umm al-Fahm.-History:Established in 1968, at the start of the 1990s the club was playing in Liga Alef . At the end of the 1998-99 season they were relegated to Liga Bet North B...

, Hapoel Kafr Qasim
Fourth tier
1999–2000 Hapoel Majd al-Krum Maccabi Afula
2000–01 Ironi Kiryat Shmona
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona F.C.
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Kiryat Shmona. The club are currently members of the Israeli Premier League and play at the Ironi Stadium...

Maccabi Isfiya, Hapoel Iksal
2001–02 Hapoel Kisra-Sumei Tzairi Nahf, Hapoel Hurfeish
2002–03 Hapoel Herzliya
Hapoel Herzliya F.C.
Hapoel Herzliya is an Israeli football club based in Herzliya. The club is currently in Liga Leumit and play their home matches at the Herzliya Municipal Stadium.-History:...

Hapoel Hadera
Hapoel Hadera F.C.
Ironi Sport Eran Hadera–Giv'at Olga F.C. is an Israeli football club from Hadera.The unorthodox name of the team is the result of the union of two city rivals, Hapoel Hadera and Maccabi Hadera....

, Hapoel Tayibe
Hapoel Tayibe F.C.
Hapoel Tayibe F.C. was an Israeli football club based in Tayibe. In 1996 they became the first ever Israeli Arab club to play in the top division. However, they were relegated at the end of their first season in the top flight, and folded in 2003 after three more relegations.-History:The club was...

2003–04 Maccabi Hadera¹ Ironi Shlomi, Migdal HaEmek
2004–05 Maccabi Tzur Shalom Hapoel Tuva, Maccabi Tura'an
2005–06 Hapoel Bnei Tamra
Hapoel Bnei Tamra F.C.
Hapoel Bnei Tamra Football Club was an Israeli football club based in Tamra.-History:During the 1980s the club played in Liga Alef , but were relegated to Liga Bet in 1988. The following season they dropped into Liga Gimel. In 1995 they were promoted back to Liga Bet, but were relegated again in...

Hapoel Beit She'an
Hapoel Beit She'an F.C.
Hapoel Beit She'an was an Israeli football club based in Beit She'an. The club spent several seasons in the top division in the 1990s, but after several relegations, folded in 2006.-History:...

, Maccabi Shefa-'Amr
2006–07 Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi
Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi F.C.
Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Jadeidi. They are currently in Liga Gimel and play at the Municipal Stadium in Nahariya, which is shared with Hapoel Nahariya, Beitar Nahariya.-History:...

Hapoel Kisra-Sumei, Hapoel Reineh, Maccabi Ma'alot
2007–08 Hapoel Umm al-Fahm
Hapoel Umm al-Fahm F.C.
Hapoel Umm al-Fahm Football Club was an Israeli football club based in Umm al-Fahm.-History:Established in 1968, at the start of the 1990s the club was playing in Liga Alef . At the end of the 1998-99 season they were relegated to Liga Bet North B...

Beitar Haifa
Beitar Haifa F.C.
Beitar Haifa F.C. is an Israeli football club based in Haifa. The club currently plays in the North A division of Liga Bet.-History:The club was promoted to Liga Artzit in 1983. In 1985-86 they finished bottom of the league, winning only two league matches all season, and were relegated back to...

, Hapoel Ahva Haifa, Hapoel Maka
2008–09 Ahva Arraba
Ahva Arraba F.C.
Ahva Arraba F.C. , is an Israeli football team based in Arraba.-History:In 2007–08 the club won the North A division of Liga Bet, and was promoted to Liga Alef North...

Maccabi Ironi Shlomi/Nahariya, Beitar Ihud Mashhad
Third tier
2009–10 Maccabi Ironi Jatt
Maccabi Ironi Jatt F.C.
Maccabi Ironi Jatt Al-Ahli is an Israeli football club based in Umm al-Fahm. The club is currently in Liga Alef and play their home matches at the HaShalom Stadium.-History:...

Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi
Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi F.C.
Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Jadeidi. They are currently in Liga Gimel and play at the Municipal Stadium in Nahariya, which is shared with Hapoel Nahariya, Beitar Nahariya.-History:...

, Hapoel Bnei Tamra, Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel
Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel F.C.
Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Tirat Carmel. They are currently in Liga Alef, the third tier.-History:...

2010–11 Maccabi Umm al-Fahm
Maccabi Umm al-Fahm F.C.
Maccabi Umm al-Fahm F.C. are a football club, from the north Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm. The club currently plays in Liga Leumit, the second tier of Israeli football. Home matches are played at the HaShalom Stadium.-Current Squad:...

Maccabi Kafr Qara, Hapoel Ramot Menashe Megiddo


¹ Maccabi Hadera folded in the summer of 2004. Maccabi Tirat Carmel (who had finished in second place) were promoted in their place.

Southern division

Season Winner Relegated
Third tier
1998–99 Hapoel Ironi Dimona Hapoel Yeruham, Beitar Ramla
Beitar Ramla F.C.
Beitar Ramla was an Israeli football club based in Ramla.-History:The club spent several seasons in Liga Artzit in the early 1970s and the 1980s, but was relegated to Liga Alef towards the end of the decade....

Fourth tier
1999–2000 Maccabi Ashkelon Hapoel Or Yehuda
2000–01 Maccabi Yavne
Maccabi Yavne F.C.
Maccabi Yavne is an Israeli football club based in Yavne. They currently play in the South Division of Liga Alef.-History:The club was promoted to Liga Leumit for the first time in 1982. In 1985 they won the Toto Cup, beating Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 in the final...

Tzairi Jaffa, Sektzia Nes Tziona
2001–02 Maccabi Ramat Amidar
Maccabi Ramat Amidar F.C.
Maccabi Ramat Amidar was an Israeli football club based in Ramat Gan. The club spent several seasons in the top division in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but in 2005 merged into Hakoah Ramat Gan, which became Hakoah Amidar Maccabi Ramat Gan.-History:...

Hapoel Lod
Hapoel Lod F.C.
Hapoel Lod was an Israeli football club based in Lod. The club spent several seasons in the top division in the 1960s and 1980s, and won the State Cup in 1984. After several relegations, they folded in 2002.-History:...

, Ma'ale Adumim
2002–03 Hapoel Tira Beitar Kiryat Gat, IS Jaffa
2003–04 Maccabi Be'er Sheva
Maccabi Be'er Sheva F.C.
Maccabi Be'er Sheva Football Club , is an Israeli football team based in Beersheba. While not nearly as popular as their city rivals, Hapoel Be'er Sheva, the club made great strides in recent years including gaining promotion from Liga Bet to the Liga Leumit in just four seasons...

Hapoel Bat Yam, Mevaseret Zion
2004–05 Hapoel Bnei Lod Hapoel Qalansawe, Hapoel Jaljulia
2005–06 Sektzia Nes Tziona Maccabi Kafr Qasim, Beitar Givat Ze'ev
2006–07 Maxim Lod¹ IS Jaffa, Hapoel Arad
2007–08 Maccabi Ironi Bat Yam
Maccabi Ironi Bat Yam F.C.
Maccabi Ironi Bat Yam is an Israeli football club based in Bat Yam. The club is currently in Liga Leumit and plays at the 3,100-capacity Bat Yam Municipal Stadium.-History:...

Tzafririm Holon
Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C.
Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C. is an Israeli football club based in the city of Holon. The club was founded in 1985 by a merger of Hapoel Holon and Tzafririm Holon.-Hapoel Holon:...

, Maccabi Ironi Amishav Petah Tikva, Ironi Ofakim
2008–09 Maccabi Be'er Sheva
Maccabi Be'er Sheva F.C.
Maccabi Be'er Sheva Football Club , is an Israeli football team based in Beersheba. While not nearly as popular as their city rivals, Hapoel Be'er Sheva, the club made great strides in recent years including gaining promotion from Liga Bet to the Liga Leumit in just four seasons...

Ironi Ramla, Hapoel Mashush Shaqib al-Salam
Third tier
2009–10 Hapoel Herzliya
Hapoel Herzliya F.C.
Hapoel Herzliya is an Israeli football club based in Herzliya. The club is currently in Liga Leumit and play their home matches at the Herzliya Municipal Stadium.-History:...

Beitar Kfar Saba, Hapoel Mevaseret Zion
2010–11 Hapoel Jerusalem Tzafririm Holon
Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C.
Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C. is an Israeli football club based in the city of Holon. The club was founded in 1985 by a merger of Hapoel Holon and Tzafririm Holon.-Hapoel Holon:...

, Shimshon Bnei Tayibe


¹ Although Maxim Lod finished top, they folded and second-placed Hapoel Kfar Shalem were promoted instead.

External links