By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
5 foreigners +
4 home grown Israelis +
2 new citizens +
1 extra spot = 12 players@WinnerLeague am I home-grown? Am I a new citizen? Am I the extra? This is year 6 in Israel for me, after U20 and 4yrs of national team. So Israelis like me and John that stay can’t play together? https://t.co/OOO2QXhGdo
— Jake Cohen (@jacohen15) September 29, 2019
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.