Soccer / Premier League / Group headed by Haim Ramon takes over Hapoel Tel Aviv
Eli Tabib confirmed he sold the team to the group of investers, also led by Moshe Teumim.
A group headed by Haim Ramon has taken over ownership of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer club, the former MK announced Wednesday.
Eli Tabib confirmed he sold the team to the group of investers, also led by Moshe Teumim. The investors will transfer NIS 12 million by the end of this year, and another NIS 1 million a year for the next five years, according to the deal.
Ramon said at a press conference yesterday that the deal's success was contingent on negotiations being secret. He noted he has been a fan of the team since early childhood. "We say other lovers are not eternal, but love for a soccer team is irreplaceable," Ramon said. "People told me that I am somewhat crazy when it comes to Hapoel Tel Aviv, and maybe that is so."
However, he said, in light of events of the past year-and-a-half, he felt that if the conditions he set were met he would be prepared to take over the team.
Although Tabib has not received any money yet, he has transfered irrevocable power of attorney for ownership of the team and therefore is no longer the owner of Hapoel Tel Aviv, Ramon said. He said the NIS 17 million would erase all debts from the Tabib era.
Tabib is still registered with the Israel Football Association as the official owner.
Ramon said the long-term goal is to hand over ownership to the fans. Half the club would be held by fans, who would be able to buy a share of the team for an estimated NIS 150. "Hapoel Tel Aviv fans, more than in any other team, are the heart and soul of the club. This combination of heart and soul, we hope, will bring success. We want to win the Premier League championship as well as the derby."
Although he said the team will be run will full transparency, Ramon refused to name the other people behind the deal. "These people have no stake in the team," he said. "Whoever puts in money to buy the club will be named and registered with the IFA."
The important thing, stressed Ramon, is that Tabib no longer has any power to influence the club.
Teumim, a former owner, said at the press conference that from now on Hapoel will be a club of all its fans. "I thought I finished my part at the beginning of the previous decade, but last year brought me back to this circle," he said. "Somehow I found myself together with Ramon in this process. We are committed to the club and to major successes in the future. Now is the time for fans to prove their love and loyalty to the club."
Nimrod Buchman, representing Hapoel fans, and Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Nitzan Shirazi also spoke at the press conference.
Buchman said that the club's supporters' six-month struggle was not against Eli Tabib so much as for Hapoel Tel Aviv. "When we saw that someone or something was harming the club, we did everything to look after our club," he said.
Shirazi said he didn't enjoy a moment's rest last season. "I never asked for a break, and so I'm saying that only someone in this club understands the extent of its power," he said. "From my angle, I'll fall in line with the others who spoke here. We'll have to wait and see which team we field. We'll try to keep the roster that practiced today and try to add two or three players."