Living costs in Belgrade are relatively cheap compared to other large European cities, but the Israeli groups' stay in the city in recent weeks has cost them a lot of money. According to club sources, each team has spent several hundred thousand shekels so far. Maccabi Tel Aviv has rented apartments for its players and professional staff, while Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv prefer to house their people in hotels.
The three teams provide players and staff with the best possible conditions in the current situation. They also understand that this is a complex situation, and therefore every effort must be made for maximum comfort. It has a price, it has a high cost. Delay costs, transportation to training, non-existent logistical matters, hosting games, security expenses and more. Each team lets its Israeli players and staff and administration fly to Israel from time to time, and that also costs a lot of money. Especially at the beginning of the war when flights were rarer and more expensive. The teams also allow family members to stay with the players and staff. Some use this option, but most do not.
"We spend money all the time," says a source at one of the clubs. "And keep in mind that there is no revenue." The teams say that there is almost no revenue from broadcasting rights and not from tickets (unlike subscriptions that have already been purchased, which we will talk about in a bit), and there are also sponsors who pay according to exposure for the LEDs on the field, and therefore now pay much less. In the midst of all the many expenses abroad, it should be remembered that the teams also spend money on apartments rented to players in Israel as well as other ongoing expenses. Although the managements have taken steps to minimize damage, and the municipalities that rent the various halls and facilities are as considerate as possible, there are still expenses in Israel and abroad at the same time.
Dzikic, Photo: Alan Shaver
Sources in the groups admit that if they didn't have deep pockets to survive this period, they would be in serious trouble. At Hapoel Holon, for example, there was an initial thought of giving up participation in the Champions League precisely because of the lack of deep pockets, but it was quickly dropped due to the desire of the club's leaders to maintain the high standards that have been set in recent years.
The clubs prefer not to dwell too much in the future, mainly because no one knows when the war will end and they will be able to return to play in Israel, but it is already clear that the current period will have effects for the future. Matan Adelson, Ofer Yanai and the owners of Maccabi Tel Aviv do indeed have deep pockets, but as businessmen they do not intend to lose money without recognition. Will the unexpected expenses be reflected in the players' budget next season? Will the clubs' development plans be affected? No one has answers yet.
It is estimated that the state will compensate, at least partially, the groups for the lack of high income and expenses, but at the moment it is unclear how much participation will be. Everyone understands that a wave of cuts is expected after the war, cuts that may reach the Sports Ministry as well and affect the compensation that the state will give. Another question hanging in the air is how the teams will deal with fans who have purchased subscriptions with the best of their money, some of whom are already expressing resentment on social media and in appeals to the clubs' marketing departments. There have already been ideas of priority and benefits in purchasing subscriptions and tickets for next season, as well as additional compensation, but there are still no final decisions on the matter.
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