Israeli league and players’ union reach five-year agreement; Jake Cohen reacts

2019-09-29T20:36:35+00:00 2019-09-29T22:13:47+00:00.

Aris Barkas

29/Sep/19 20:36

A five-year deal between the Israeli League and the Israeli Players Union was reached

By Aris Barkas/

After a debate that almost ended the 2017-18 season of the Israeli league prematurely, a deal between the management and the Israeli Players Union was announced on Saturday and will take effect at the start of the 2020-2021 season.

According to the new deal, each Israeli team can have a maximum of five non-Israeli players, at least four homegrown Israelis, two “new citizens” and one extra spot, which can also be used for a “new citizen” with an additional fee.

It’s a deal that protects homegrown Israeli players but also creates issues for those who got the Israeli citizenship, as Maccabi Tel Aviv forward and Israeli national team member Jake Cohen illustrates.

On top of that, teams will get a financial bonus if they have three or four non-Israeli players during the season, while there’s a fee to pay if an organization chooses to use five non-Israeli players. Similar charges are needed when you register a “new citizen” plus no more than four non-Israeli players will be able to be used on the court simultaneously.

It’s an improved version of the so-called “Russian rule,” which until recently permitted only three non-local players to be used at the same time on the court.

It’s a rule that was first used in Russia – and that’s how it got its name – and later it was also implemented in Israel and Turkey. However, only Israel is still using this restriction which can be puzzling for coaches.