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Saving Hapoel Haifa

I do not live in Maryland; I do not even live in the US. I leave In Israel, and I would like to share with you a story about my football (soccer) club.

To the Bethesda Patch readers,

I do not live in Maryland; I do not even live in the US. I leave In Israel, and I would like to share with you a story.

The most popular sport in Israel is football (what you call soccer). One of the oldest football clubs in Israel is "Hapoel Haifa". It has a very long history and tradition, and has lots of fans all over Israel. Like any other club, it had it's good years and bad years. But it has always been a club with tradition, pride, and fans that followed the team also during the bad years.

10 years ago, the club was purchased by Mr. Yoav Katz, an American accountant from Bethesda, MD  (a former Israeli that left Israel about 40 years ago). I don't really understand why he did it, maybe for getting publicity in the Israeli sports media (he gets lots of it whenever he visits Israel), maybe for getting tax benefits in the US. It doesn't look like he did it for his passion to football or to Hapoel Haifa club, as you can read in the following paragraphs.

During the last 10 years he brought the club to one of it's worst situation ever:

  • The number of children and teenagers playing in the club youth teams decreased dramatically. Many left (including the most talented young players) to other clubs because of the poor conditions.
  • The training facility is neglected. It looks like a junk yard. The sports media in Israel often mentions that this place is suitable for cattle, but not for football players to practice. 
  • The adults team is in one of it's worst situations. There is no long term, planning. Players are often hired for just few months, no long term, contracts. The big talents of the club are just waiting for the contract to expire in order to look for other clubs to play for.
  • The fans are leaving. The number of fans coming to watch the team is less than half than it used to be. And it's not because of the immediate results, it's because we see no future for our club with this management.

For the last year, many of the team fans started to protest against the owner, asking him to leave.  But instead of listen to what we have to say, he is putting all his efforts to shut us down. Instead of making the efforts to improve the club, to give this club a future, he only cares about his image in the Israeli media, and about depressing the activity of the fans that are asking him to leave.  

If any of you readers is a truly sports fan, I am sure that you can understand Hapoel Haifa's fans feeling and frustration. We beg Mr. Katz for many months now, please leave us. Sell to someone else that really cares for the club, that understands Israeli football. But Mr. Katz refuses, as kind of a principle. No matter how bad the club condition is, no matter how much the fans despise him, he will not sell.

I am writing this post out of desperation. The football club that I grew up with is being destroyed by an American accountant, who doesn't care at all, and there is nothing we fans can do about it.

Thank you for your time.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

moran February 28, 2013 at 07:08 AM
Yoav Katz is a bad person! Seeking only his own publicity and does not care if he's good or bad. He does not understand that joke of a country!
Saving Hapoel February 28, 2013 at 07:29 AM
Mr. Yoav Katz, did alot more then what my friend wrote. He is responsible for NOT having hot water in the showers in the training facilities, and sending players home to take a shower after practice. He is responsible for NOT installing lights on the "fields" so young players could practice without day light. He DOES NOT want to buy Fresh water bottles for players in games.. THE FANS ARE BUYING WATER FOR THE PLAYERS!!!! He DOESN'T ALLOW players/team to drive in a "Payed Highway". He only wants to get interviewd by jurnalists that are he's "backyard Journalists" , and he actually stormed out of an interview when someone asked him something about finances.. Oh and i allmost forgot, some of the fans are trying to make him sell the team, we as a return favor get calls to the Police station, get banned from games for no reasons and when actually going to a game to try to encourage our falling dead team we get surrounded by cops and get kicked out of the stadium if we say anything against the Dictator. Iran is apperantly in Haifa,Israel!!!! So, to the people of maryland that are supporting Yoav Katz without knowing what he is doing with your money (and by the way, we people came and wanted to donate few millions to the club in order for Mr. Katz to show them what is being done with their money... They got a v.big NO!!!!!!! Kinda suspicious no??) Please donate to other facilities in israel, your money doesn't help the comunity, it help Mr. Yoav Katz. ONLY!
Tomer H February 28, 2013 at 07:29 AM
Yoav Katz and his managment team are directly responsible for the team's poor condition in all fields: youth, facilities, fans numbers and lack of results in the adult team. Yoav Katz must go!! the club has no future under his managment! We know for a fact that donations from the jewish community in the US is one of the key reasons for his stubborn desicion not to sell the club to a true fan who is willing to start rebulding this club starting today. Please help us if you can! Please help us restore our beloved club to his glory days! Don't give money to this evil man! he is not contributing to sports in Israel or to peace between jews and arabs, he is fruad and takes this money into his own pocket!! Stop helping him, PLease! Saving Hapoel!!!
Boaz Sharon February 28, 2013 at 09:48 AM
Dear Bethesda Patch readers, I am also, an Hapoel Haufa fan (46 years old). I read this post and the few comment afterwards, and image you reading it, and does not really understand what is this about... Please try to gain few objects, which are important: 1. Very far away from you live thousands of people that are suffering because one of your members. 2. among you lives a man, that from one reason or another, insist to destroy almost 100 years of mutual community organization. 3. can you do business or being companion with a man that cannot addmit faliures, and cannot let go, when kindly asked? Boaz Sharon. Haifa.
Red March 03, 2013 at 11:51 AM
You'll never walk alone Hapoel Haifa!
Michael Dermer March 03, 2013 at 12:03 PM
I ask you to help us with this issue. Mr. Katz is destroying our beloved football team. 89 years of history is about to end. Please help us.
tal b March 04, 2013 at 08:05 AM
since this guy show up our team became the number one joke of the israeli football. the oldest Hapoel club, one of the most respectable team is now on the edge of relegation to the second leauge. since he control the club in 2004 we drop once to the second leauge and spend four years before we came back to the premier leauge. since we came back, we spend every season fighting for our life to stay in the premier leauge. every year he spread his lies all over and sell us his buls*** all over our face just to make sure we buy season tickets. he never think more then one step ahead and everything he does he try to make profit. this message is for all the jewish community that donate their money to this layer.. DONT DO IT !! he trick you to make sure that he wont put money from his pocket !

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