Soccer Match Canceled After Three Players Admit Taking Bribes

Police suspect players were offered bribes to throw key match; suspects say they were offered money by gangsters.

The Israel Football Association on Saturday called off a National League match following the arrest of three Hapoel Be'er Sheva soccer players who were arrested after admitting they had accepted bribes to throw the results of the game against Ra'anana.

The three - Yehiel Tzagai, Micky Atia and Evyatar Iluz - were ordered held for an additional four days last night by the Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court.

As a consequence of the cancellation of the game, the Sports Betting Council slashed the first prize in this weekend's Toto pools from NIS 40 million to NIS 10 million.

The news followed last week's revelation that Premier League team Hapoel Kfar Sava had dismissed goalkeeper Oshri Levi for allegedly throwing a match against Maccabi Haifa.

The Israel Football Association said on Sunday it would set up an independent team of investigators to work undercover and root out illegal activities, and that players suspected of irregularities would be summoned for polygraph tests.