The Super League basketball administration announced yesterday it was canceling yesterday's two games involving Ashkelon and Ashdod, which had already been postponed from Monday due to the rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel.
Ashkelon was to host Gilboa/Galil and Ashdod was to take on visiting Habikaa.
Shai Hausman, the director of Maccabi Ashdod, supported the decision. "The right choice was made," he said. "If there is not enough security to send children to school in the morning, there's no justification for sending them in the evening to basketball."
Gilboa/Galil officials complained about the way in which the decision was made. Yesterday morning, the team's front office contacted the league administration to determine whether the game would be held in light of the renewed rocket attacks. Team officials say they received an affirmative response. The team departed for Kfar Hamaccabiah, held a light practice and only afterward received notice that the game would be postponed.
Moments later, the officials say team chairman Yaron Ohayon received a message from the league that the game would indeed go on as planned. The team headed south to Ashkelon and checked into a hotel in town when assistant coach Barak Peleg received a message about the postponement.
The players and coaching staff got back on the buses and returned north.
"I don't get this behavior," said Amit Gal, CEO of the team. "It's yes, then no, then yes, then no. I don't get why they sent us to Ashkelon in the first place."
Ohayon added, "It's too bad they didn't postpone the game from the start. When there's doubt about something you should cancel. There's no basketball atmosphere. We wasted a day of practice, especially when we have another game planned for Sunday."
Habikaa officials said they were less surprised. The team held a morning practice ahead of its scheduled game with Maccabi Ashdod and received a notice at the end. "We were prepared for either scenario," said chairman Moti Amsalem. "Our heart is with the south. I hope there will be quiet. Give it a few days and then we'll play there."
Soccer affected, too
Basketball is not the only affected sport. The Israel Football Association canceled all youth league soccer games, including away games for teams from the south.
However, it has yet to cancel Premier League matches involving Hapoel Be'er Sheva, FC Ashdod and Ashkelon. Hapoel Be'er Sheva asked to cancel its match against Hapoel Rishon tomorrow, but IFA officials said there was no need because they had permission from the military to hold the games. They said they are awaiting word from the Home Front Command before making a move.
(Moshe Boker contributed to this report.)
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