The chairman of the Sports Betting Council, Gideon Brikman, is to ask the Israel Football Association to award a UEFA Cup spot to the winner of the Toto Cup in place of the fourth-ranked team in the Premier League.
The demand will be raised during negotiations between the council and the IFA over renewal of a marketing agreement between the two.
Currently, the Toto Cup holder earns a place in the Intertoto Cup, which awards three first-round UEFA Cup spots to the top three finishers.
Brikman returned yesterday from an Intertoto conference in Helsinki where a proposal was made to set up a new European competition to be played on Mondays, alongside the Champions League and the UEFA Cup, which are played from Tuesdays to Thursdays. Intertoto hopes to launch the competition, which would be funded by state football pools from member countries, in the 2006-7 season.
"Such a competition would give more clubs the opportunity to participate in an official European tournament, and would increase sports betting on the slowest day of the week," Brikman. "The participation of another Israeli team in a European competition will contribute to the advancement of Israeli soccer."
Intertoto also accepted a proposal made by the executive director of the Sports Betting Council, Shaul Schneider, to make the Intertoto Cup a preliminary stage of the UEFA Cup. The proposal calls for the number of teams in the Intertoto Cup to be reduced from 61 to 49, with 11 teams directly advancing to the second preliminary round of the UEFA Cup.
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