After all of the turmoil and talk that there may be a work stoppage by the Israeli footballers, leagues and youth divisions, there won’t be a strike this weekend in Israeli football. Why? Because the “Status quo” agreements from the founding days of the Jewish State precedes any judicial law.
So how did this we get into this situation where there almost was a strike?
TV Channel, Sport5 asked that the second division Ligat Leumit hold a match on Saturday afternoon in order to increase their coverage of the league, but a number of observant players protested this decision and went to labour court on the matter.
Judge Ariela Gilzer stated that “it is illegal to play football on Saturday as it is the Sabbath and in order to do so you will need a special permit”, even though there had been football matches on Saturday well before the State of Israel was declared.
This in essence would have affected tens of thousands of people from youth leagues, stewards, clubs, ticket sales and of course the players causing havoc on the only legal “day off” in Israel.
Yesterday, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein saw no reason to suddenly enforce a law that had been ignored for decades and that no one had prosecuted, thereby enforcing what is known as the “Status Quo”. Once Weinstein had made his ruling, the Israel Football Association and the Minhelet HaLiga the organizing body of the Ligat Winner and Leumit declared that the all matches would go ahead as planned and brought this saga to an end.
Should the country ever adopt an official two-day weekend most of these issues would be solved with football moving To another day of the week allowing everyone the chance to enjoy a day out at the stadiums and with their children. However, until then the “Status Quo” will remain in effect.