The Israel Winner Basketball League 2019/2020 season will return to action after the league’s directors voted to get back onto the hardwood and complete the campaign.
Foreign players who are not currently in Israel will be required to return by May 17 to begin a 14 day quarantine. Practices will the resume on June 1st with the league resuming on June 20th with the completion of the second round of games with Gameday 22. There will then be a shortened 3rd round of games with details to be provided in the upcoming days about how that will be played.
The top eight teams will then advance to a best of 3 quarterfinal series followed by the Final Four with a champion being crowned during the last week of July. Games will take place in the club’s home arenas with no fans.
The League’s chairman Shmuel Frankel held a press conference following the decision to return basketball to the country, “This is happy day for those who are part of the basketball world, the fans and everyone involved in the sport. We had an emotional meeting and there are still question marks. Returning to play will cost some teams a lot of money, but basketball is more important than anything.”
“This crisis is one that has befallen the entire world,” commented Frankel. “We were one of 4 leagues in Europe that decided not to end the season and not only didn’t we close up the 2019/20 campaign we looked at ways to restart the league. We knew that as long as the soccer league could still return so could we and now we are working together with the them as we approach the finance ministry. we have signed a letter that will go out to the Miri Regev, the Minister of Culture and Sports which will then be passed along to the Prime Minister.”
“We are attempting to receive compensation from the finance ministry and without that it will be difficult to continue. We have promised to send each team 550,000 NIS and on Sunday they will receive an advance of 200,000 NIS form the funds that are received from the Toto lottery, the TV rights and sponsors.”
Frankel continued, “However, without fans next season we will not be able to open the league. We will need a 100% approval for this and compensation for losses. For example, 45% of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s revenue is from season tickets and ticket sales and they won’t be abele to begin the season without that guarantee. The same for the other teams. I am very concerned about next season, there will be problems with sponsors and seven teams that are run by the municipalities. I do believe that if the situation continues to improve, then there will be fans in stands in June.”