'Our Time Has Come': Israeli Women's Soccer League Seeks Formal Recognition

FIFA accreditation would make teams treat players better and increase the league’s exposure, local association argues

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Soccer game between Emek Hefer and Eilat
Soccer game between Emek Hefer and EilatCredit: Ilan Assayag
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An organization representing Israeli soccer players has asked FIFA, the body that governs international soccer, to order the Israel Football Association to recognize the local women’s league as professional.

In the request submitted to FIFA on Sunday, the Israeli Football Players Association presented data showing that the Women’s Premier League meets all the criteria for being defined as professional. The association added that doing so would force teams to treat their players better and increase the league’s success and exposure.

Moreover, the association said, the fact that the IFA hasn’t yet defined the league as professional violates its own bylaws. Since FIFA has the power to order the IFA to obey its bylaws, FIFA can order it to recognize the women’s league as professional, argued Ron Kedar, the association’s legal advisor.

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“Turning the women’s league into a professional one is one of the first goals we set ourselves to advance women’s soccer in Israel,” said Karin Sendel, chairwoman of the IFPO. “We see this happening all over the world, and now it’s our turn.

“This step is significant because it will lead to us playing on better fields, with a standard ball, a higher level of refereeing and more,” she continued. “I want Israeli girls to have the ability to dream of being professional soccer players, just like the boy sitting with them in class. And this is the first step on the way there.”

The IFPO Executive Director Moshe Mishael added, “As the organization representing male and female players, we won’t stop until the women’s league is recognized as professional.”

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