Ticked: Sports Day Events Summary Clip, May 31 (Sports5)
The mayor of Dimona, Benny Biton, sent a strongly worded letter this week to the chairman of the Football Association, Shino Zuaretz, following the association's decision to restrict the activities of soccer teams from the lower leagues and limit their budgets to NIS 1 million gross per season.
Bitton announced in his letter, copies of which also reached Sports Minister Miki Zohar, Local Government Center Chairman Haim Bibas and a number of mayors, that he would not shy away from measures to get the association headed by Zuaretz to freeze its decisions and enter negotiations with the heads of the municipalities that have a team in the lower leagues.
"This is a reckless intervention on the part of the body you head, and a decision that will cause a fiasco and the destruction of a large number of teams, which may, God forbid, destroy the lower leagues," Bitton wrote to Zuaretz, "Sir, last December elections were held for the position of chairman of the Football Association and you won them. Congratulations on winning. However, it is clear to you that if before those elections you had presented to the voters this plan for the elimination of the lower leagues, it would probably have been rejected out of hand and you would not be the chairman of the association today..."
Sharp letter. Dimona Mayor Benny Biton (Photo: Municipality Spokesperson's Office)
"It is also clear to you that anyone with eyes in his head would not dare to lay his hand on such a one-sided and revolutionary plan from such a negative, offensive and anti-democratic aspect. I very much want to write to you sir, because in this program you proved that you are a superhero for the weak, but no! We mayors are not weak at all; on the contrary, we run strong, financially sound communities with aspirations, dreams and fulfillment. Therefore, you are not strong over weak, but you have proven to us that you are afraid of the strong," Biton continued.
"I wonder, sir, also on behalf of my colleagues and mayors who have a football team in Liga A and in general in the lower leagues, would you dare to take a similar step towards teams from the National League and the Premier League? Would you dare to quarrel with tycoons like Yaakov Shahar, Mitch Goldhar, Alona Barkat and Barak Abramov? After all, these are owners of groups whose budget is around NIS 100 million, who is less and who is more! No, you wouldn't dare put your head in the lion's cage lest you be swallowed!!!."
Bitton also warned of criminal offenses in the field of money following the change: "Your decision will encourage payments in the black for lack of choice, a step that we must avoid and even eradicate at the root. After all, as I mentioned above, many teams have already signed salary agreements with players, coaches, fitness coaches and officials. Therefore, failure to change the decision will expose the groups to financial claims that will endanger their very existence. I look forward to receiving my response from you."
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Didn't have to. Shino Zuaretz (Photo: Danny Maron)
In response, Zuaretz responded in a letter to the mayor: "The decision on the reform in Liga A was made, as stated, unanimously. Board members, team owners, team chairmen, representatives of professional and amateur leagues, representatives of central and peripheral communities, representatives of Jewish and Arab localities voted for it. Unanimous!. I did lead the obvious move in my opinion, but as you probably know, the voice of the mayor or the football association is equal to the voice of any other representative in the management. At least with us, that's the case."
Zuaretz continued: "The aforementioned reform is the result of serious work by a committee that was established during the previous management period and submitted clear conclusions, aimed at developing the amateur leagues, ensuring proper management, competitiveness, sportsmanship, player development and equal opportunity as much as possible. In the most pertinent manner, the members of the current management saw fit that the plan is correct, appropriate and will make a great contribution to the causes for which the Football Association operates. Already in December 2022, by the way, the management of the Association approved key elements of the reform in question. The recommendation at the time was that the salary ceiling for players be NIS 750,13, while we thought it would be better to raise it to NIS <> million. If you really followed the campaign I ran, you would find in it all the things you claim I hid. My mouth and heart are equal. Always. Whether there are elections or not.
"Moreover, shortly after my election to the position, on February <>, I held a conference at the Football Association with the heads of League A, in which I again detailed my plan, the necessity of budgetary control and the other ways in which the Football Association intends to develop and promote the amateur leagues, which in my view have sporting, moral, local, national importance and tremendous potential that must be realized. Well, my honors, in this story there are no weak men and no heroes. Fortunately, I will also try to avoid determining whether the person who calls my plan, the one unanimously approved by the management of the Football Association, 'Noelth', is weak, a hero, a man whose basic politeness and respect have been forgotten or someone who has not controlled his instincts. You, as the mayor of Dimona and deputy chairman of the local government, know that there will often be those who disagree with moves led by those at the helm. A weak person is someone who is afraid to act according to his conscience, shy away from empty threats, or afraid to lead the necessary change.
"At the end of your letter, you wrote that you expected a substantive response. I hope that I have met the challenge, despite your style, false accusations and empty threats. As much as you would like to present me with substantive objections on this or other issues, I would be happy if you would come to a meeting in my office and even more so if I would have the honor of visiting your city again," concluded Zuaretz.
- Israeli football
- Shino Zuaretz