Disappointment over the low level of the game and lack of fan loyalty to clubs are two of the main reasons that Israeli fans are staying away from the game, according to a survey presented by the Israel Football Association at a press conference yesterday.
The results of the survey, for which over 1,200 people were interviewed at a cost of close to NIS 100,000, were received Thursday, but were only released yesterday. The issue of how to fill empty seats was also discussed at the conference.
The state of facilities, ticket prices and violence were not found to be a major factor keeping fans at home.
Despite the findings, IFA chair Itche Menahem said that he believed facilities needed to be upgraded and ticket prices needed to come down.
Menahem claimed that the problem was not as bad as had been claimed and that the decline in support for Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv was the major factor in the fall in attendance figures.
Menahem adopted an optimistic tone throughout the press conference, ignoring Maccabi Haifa's 16 point lead over its nearest rival, the failure of Israeli teams in Europe this season and the domination of foreign players in the senior leagues.
Many of the Premier League heads attending the conference ridiculed the survey, saying that the IFA had paid out close to NIS 100,000 to find out what everybody already knew. "Everyone knows the results, you don't need a survey for this," said Hapoel Haifa chairman Avi Kaufman.
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