Text size

Former Israel Football Association chairman Haim Haberfeld died in Tel Aviv on Monday night, the IFA said in a statement yesterday.

Haberfeld, who was 71, died after a long battle with diabetes. He served as chairman between 1982-85 and 1991-93 and saw Israel become a full member of UEFA in 1992. He was probably better known as secretary-general of the Histadrut labor union in the years 1992-94.

"Haberfeld fought during the 1980s and early `90s to get Israel incorporated into European soccer and he won many friends among the heads of European associations," the IFA statement said.

Until he was elected chairman in 1982, Haberfeld held several posts in the IFA's management committee including treasurer. He continued to hold a position on the management committee until last August.

Haberfeld was born in then-Czechoslovakia and came to Israel at the age of two, when the Nazis came to power.

For many years, he was a civilian employee of the Israel Defense Forces and later headed the IDF workers' union, introducing a wide range of welfare and social benefits.

In soccer, he introduced the system of three points for a win in a league game instead of two in 1982. He also turned the National Stadium into the home of the IFA by leasing the complex from the Ramat Gan municipality for 99 years, a lease which is set to run until 2082.

Haberfeld will be buried at Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek tomorrow.