The Israel Olympic Committee failed to select a replacement for outgoing chairman Zvi Warshaviak at a board meeting Sunday night, electing instead to postpone the decision by a month.
The sports associations failed to reach agreement on a candidate to replace Warshaviak, who resigned in the wake of Israel's poor showing at the summer Olympic Games.
The Maccabi sports association wants to see Igal Carmi in the position, while Hapoel pushed for Zeev Bielski, a former Jewish Agency chairman and Kadima Knesset member. Maccabi was confident of a victory, but it was a narrow one with 15 board members supporting Carmi, and 14 favoring Bielski. But Hapoel reps surprised the other members by pointing out board regulations which call for a 68 percent majority for any major decision to pass. The Maccabi reps were astonished because the regulation had not been used in past. But it was enough to prompt the legal adviser to postpone a decision for a month.
The next few weeks will be used to file a petition to the High Court of Justice, make appeals and continue negotiations over a formula that will be acceptable to both the Maccabi and Hapoel sport associations.
"In principle I won by a majority," said Carmi, who organized the last Maccabiah games. "It is very surprising that Hapoel officials brought out that clause. It is a little manipulative," said the Maccabi candidate, adding that he would meet with Bielski.
"I hope we will get rid of the wheeling and dealing and work for the sake of Israeli sport," said Bielski.
Maccabi's Yael Arad, the Olympic medalist, spoke about the chaos that is liable to be created in the wake of the delay in appointing a successor.