Liga Alef

Last updated
Liga Alef
Founded1949;72 years ago (1949)
CountryIsrael
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Number of teams 16X2
Level on pyramid3
Promotion to National League
Relegation to Liga Bet
Domestic cup(s) State Cup
Current champions Hapoel Iksal (North)
Hapoel Kfar Shalem (South)
(2019–20)
Website (North)
(South)
Current: 2020–2021

Liga Alef (Hebrew : ליגה א', lit. League A) is the third tier of the Israeli football league system. It is divided into two regional divisions, north and south.

Contents

History

League football began in Israel in 1949–50, a year after independence. However, the financial and security crises gripping the young nation caused the 1950–51 season to be abandoned before it had started. When football resumed in 1951–52, the new top division went by the name of Liga Alef. The 1952–53 season was also not played, and Liga Alef resumed in 1953–54.

In the 1955–56 season, Liga Leumit came into existence as the new top division, with Liga Alef becoming the second division. In the summer of 1976, restructuring saw the creation of Liga Artzit as a new second tier, and the second demotion of Liga Alef, as it became the third division. Further restructuring to create the Israeli Premier League in the summer of 1999 saw Liga Alef demoted again, this time to the fourth tier. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Liga Artzit was scrapped as the Premier League and Liga Leumit were expanded to 16 clubs each, with Liga Alef becoming the third tier once more.

Structure

Today, Liga Alef is split into two regional divisions on a north-south basis. Because Israel's northern half is much more densely populated than the desert south, the dividing line between the northern and southern divisions is somewhere between Haifa and Tel Aviv, meaning that the southern "half" covers about three-quarters of the country. Although this inequality is partially offset by the fact that there are so few clubs south of Beersheba (Dimona, Yeroham, Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat are the only sizable towns south of the city), the northern clubs tend to be clustered in the Galilee region, making travel to away matches much less of a chore.

Each division has sixteen clubs, who play each other home and away to make a 30-game season. The club finishing top of each regional division is promoted to Liga Leumit, whilst the eight second to fifth placed clubs have a play-off, with the winner playing-off against the third-bottom club in Liga Leumit for a place in that division. The bottom two from each division are relegated to Liga Bet, the fourth tier, and the two third-bottom clubs playing-off against play-off winners from Liga Bet for a place in Liga Alef. Coming into Liga Alef are the two or three clubs relegated from Liga Leumit and the four to six clubs promoted from Liga Bet (the winner of each of the four regional divisions, and one or two more runners-up, had they are successful in the play-off). The clubs are then pooled and assigned to the most geographically appropriate of the two divisions.

Current members

The following clubs are participating in the 2020–2021 season:

Liga Alef North

Liga Alef South

Previous seasons

1951–63

SeasonWinnerRelegated
First tier
1951–52 Maccabi Tel Aviv Hapoel Rishon LeZion, Maccabi Rishon LeZion
1953–54 Maccabi Tel Aviv None1
1954–55 Hapoel Petah Tikva Beitar Jerusalem, Hapoel Hadera, Hapoel Balfouria
Second tier
1955–56 Hakoah Tel Aviv 2 Ahva Notzrit Haifa, Hapoel Ra'anana, Hapoel Balfouria
1956–57 Hapoel Kfar Saba 3 Hapoel Nahariya, Maccabi Ramat Gan
1957–58 Beitar Jerusalem 4None4
1958–59 Bnei Yehuda Maccabi Sha'arayim, Hapoel Afula
1959–60 Shimshon Tel Aviv Maccabi Rehovot, Hapoel Netanya
1960–61 Hapoel Tiberias Hapoel Hadera, Hapoel Herzliya
1961–62 Hakoah Tel Aviv Maccabi Hadera, Hapoel Rehovot
1962–63 Hapoel Ramat Gan 5 Hapoel Safed, Maccabi Ramla

1 No clubs were relegated as the league was expanded to 14 clubs in the following season.

2 There was no automatic promotion in the 1955-56 season. Hakoah Tel Aviv lost in the promotion play-offs to Maccabi Jaffa of Liga Leumit.

3 First placed Hapoel Kfar Saba and third placed Hapoel Jerusalem were promoted after promotion play-offs.

4 No clubs were promoted or relegated after the Israel Football Association decided to abandon the league before the end of the season, due to suspicions of bribery.

5 Hapoel Lod and Maccabi Sha'arayim were also promoted.

Northern division

SeasonWinnerRelegated
Second tier
1963–64 Maccabi Netanya Hapoel Nahariya, Hapoel Givat Haim
1964–65 Hapoel Mahane Yehuda Maccabi Zikhron Ya'akov, Hapoel Ra'anana
1965–66 Maccabi Haifa Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, Beitar Haifa
1966–68 Hapoel Kfar Saba Hapoel Nahariya, Hapoel Safed
1968–69 Maccabi Petah Tikva Hapoel Ra'anana, Hapoel Kfar Blum
1969–70 Hapoel Hadera Hapoel Kiryat Haim, Beitar Kiryat Tiv'on
1970–71 Maccabi Jaffa Hapoel Zikhron Ya'akov, Maccabi Hadera
1971–72 Maccabi Petah Tikva Hapoel Netanya, Hapoel Kiryat Haim
1972–73 Hapoel Hadera Hapoel Mahane Yehuda, Hapoel Givat Haim
1973–74 Hapoel Acre 1 Hapoel Migdal HaEmek
1974–75 Maccabi Haifa None2
1975–76 Hapoel Acre Hapoel Tiberias, Hapoel Kiryat Ata
Third tier
1976–77 Hapoel Tirat HaCarmel Hapoel Mahane Yehuda, Hapoel Safed
1977–78 Hapoel Tiberias 3 Hapoel Bnei Nazareth, Hapoel Beit Eliezer
1978–79 Hapoel Nazareth Illit 4 Hapoel Nahliel, Hapoel Givat Haim
1979–80 Hapoel Kiryat Shmona Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, Hapoel Umm al-Fahm
1980–81 Beitar Netanya 5 Hapoel Netanya, Maccabi Or Akiva
1981–82 Hapoel Hadera 6 Hapoel Afikim, Hapoel Nahariya
1982–83 Beitar Haifa Hapoel Givat Olga, Hapoel Nahliel
1983–84 Hapoel Tiberias Maccabi Bnei Hatzor, Hapoel Migdal HaEmek
1984–85 Beitar Netanya 7 Hapoel Bnei Nazareth, Hapoel Tel Hanan
1985–86 Hapoel Beit She'an 8 Hapoel Nazareth Illit, Maccabi Shefa-'Amr
1986–87 Maccabi Hadera 9 Hapoel Aliyah Kfar Saba, Maccabi Or Akiva
1987–88 Maccabi Tamra Hapoel Ra'anana, Hapoel Bnei Tamra
1988–89 Hapoel Tirat HaCarmel Hapoel Tira, Hapoel Kiryat Ata
1989–90 Maccabi Acre Hapoel Bnei Nazareth, Beitar Haifa
1990–91 Maccabi Herzliya Beitar Nahariya, Maccabi Hadera
1991–92 Hapoel Daliyat al-Karmel Maccabi Tamra, Maccabi Kafr Kanna
1992–93 Hapoel Beit She'an 10 Maccabi Bnei Hatzor
1993–94 Hapoel Ramat Gan 11 Beitar Nahariya
1994–95 Maccabi Acre Hapoel Tirat HaCarmel, Hapoel Tiberias
1995–96 Maccabi Kafr Kanna Hapoel Givat Olga, Maccabi Or Akiva
1996–97 Bnei Sakhnin Hapoel Migdal HaEmek, Hapoel Iksal
1997–98 Maccabi Ahi Nazareth Maccabi Hadera, Hapoel Karmiel
1998–99 Hapoel Ra'anana 12 Hapoel Umm al-Fahm, Hapoel Kafr Qasim
Fourth tier
1999–2000 Hapoel Majd al-Krum Maccabi Afula
2000–01 Ironi Kiryat Shmona Maccabi Isfiya, Hapoel Iksal
2001–02 Hapoel Kafr Sumei Hapoel Tzeirei Nahf, Hapoel Hurfeish
2002–03 Hapoel Herzliya Hapoel Hadera, Hapoel Tayibe
2003–04 Maccabi Hadera 13 Hapoel Migdal HaEmek
2004–05 Maccabi Tzur Shalom Hapoel Tuba, Maccabi Tur'an
2005–06 Hapoel Bnei Tamra Maccabi Tamra, Hapoel Beit She'an, Maccabi Shefa-'Amr
2006–07 Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi Hapoel Kafr Sumei, Hapoel Reineh, Maccabi Sektzia Ma'alot-Tarshiha
2007–08 Hapoel Umm al-Fahm Beitar Haifa, Hapoel Ahva Haifa, Hapoel Makr
2008–09 Ahva Arraba Maccabi Ironi Shlomi/Nahariya, Beitar Ihud Mashhad
Third tier
2009–10 Maccabi Ironi Jatt Hapoel Bnei Jadeidi, Hapoel Bnei Tamra, Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel
2010–11 Maccabi Umm al-Fahm Ironi Sayid Umm al-Fahm, Maccabi Kafr Qara, Hapoel Ramot Menashe Megiddo
2011–12 Hapoel Asi Gilboa 14 Maccabi Ironi Tamra, Ahi Acre
2012–13 Hapoel Afula Hapoel Kafr Kanna, Maccabi Sektzia Ma'alot-Tarshiha
2013–14 Hapoel Kfar Saba 15 Hapoel Daliyat al-Karmel, Maccabi Kafr Kanna, Ahva Arraba
2014–15 Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem Beitar Nahariya, Maccabi Umm al-Fahm
2015–16 Ironi Nesher Maccabi Sektzia Ma'alot-Tarshiha, Ihud Bnei Majd al-Krum

1 There was no automatic promotion in the 1973-74 season. Hapoel Acre finished fifth in the promotion play-offs and remained in Liga Alef. However, runners-up, Shimshon Tel-Aviv, finished second in the promotion play-offs and were promoted to Liga Leumit.

2 Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Safed were reprieved from relegation after the Israel Football Association decided to expand Liga Leumit to 18 clubs and Liga Alef to 17 clubs in each division for the following season.

3 Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Beit She'an were also promoted.

4 Hapoel Herzliya were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef South, Maccabi Kiryat Gat.

5 Hapoel Tel Hanan were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef South, Hapoel Ramla.

6 Maccabi Shefa-'Amr were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef South, Hapoel Bat Yam.

7 Hapoel Acre were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef South, Maccabi Lazarus Holon.

8 Beitar Nahariya were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef South, Hapoel Rishon LeZion.

9 There was no automatic promotion in the 1986-87 season. Maccabi Hadera finished third in the promotion play-offs after Hapoel Bat Yam of Liga Alef South and Hapoel Ramat Gan of Liga Artzit and remained in Liga Alef.

10 Hapoel Tayibe were also promoted as runners-up.

11 Hapoel Kiryat Shmona were also promoted as runners-up.

12 Hapoel Nazareth Illit, Hapoel Iksal and Hapoel Acre were also promoted.

13 Although Maccabi Hadera finished top, they folded and second-placed Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel were promoted instead.

14 There was no automatic promotion in the 2011-12 season. Hapoel Asi Gilboa lost in promotion play-offs to the South division champions, Maccabi Yavne in away goals (2-2 on aggregate) and remained in Liga Alef.

15 Ironi Tiberias were also promoted after play-off victory over Hapoel Katamon of Liga Leumit.

Southern division

SeasonWinnerRelegated
Second tier
1963–64 Beitar Tel Aviv Maccabi Shmuel Tel Aviv, Hapoel Rishon LeZion
1964–65 Hapoel Be'er Sheva Hapoel Ramla, Beitar Harari Tel Aviv
1965–66 SK Nes Tziona HaBira Jerusalem, Hapoel Giv'atayim
1966–68 Beitar Jerusalem Beitar Kiryat Ono, Hapoel Kfar Shalem
1968–69 Beitar Tel Aviv Hapoel Yehud, Maccabi Holon
1969–70 Hapoel Holon Beitar Be'er Sheva, Hapoel Sderot
1970–71 Hapoel Be'er Sheva SK Nes Tziona, Beitar Lod
1971–72 Hapoel Marmorek Hapoel Ashkelon, Maccabi Bat Yam
1972–73 Bnei Yehuda Hapoel Eilat, Hapoel Kiryat Ono
1973–74 Maccabi Sha'arayim 1 Maccabi Holon
1974–75 Maccabi Ramat Amidar None2
1975–76 Hapoel Yehud Beitar Jaffa, Hapoel Lod
Third tier
1976–77 Hapoel Beit Shemesh Hapoel Dimona, Hapoel Be'er Ya'akov
1977–78 Hapoel Marmorek 3 Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Gan, Hapoel Rosh HaAyin
1978–79 Hapoel Beit Shemesh SK Nes Tziona, Beitar Ashdod
1979–80 Maccabi Yavne 4 Hapoel Or Yehuda, Hapoel Kafr Qasim
1980–81 Maccabi Kiryat Gat Maccabi Be'er Sheva, Hapoel Rosh HaAyin
1981–82 Hapoel Ashkelon Hapoel Herzliya, Maccabi Lazarus Holon
1982–83 Hapoel Marmorek 5 Hapoel Ashdod, Hapoel Dimona
1983–84 Maccabi Sha'arayim 6 Ironi Ashdod, Maccabi Herzliya
1984–85 Hapoel Beit Shemesh Hapoel Ramla, Hapoel Ihud Tzeirei Jaffa
1985–86 Hapoel Dimona Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Gan 7
1986–87 Hapoel Bat Yam Beitar Be'er Sheva, Hapoel Yeruham
1987–88 Beitar Ramla Hapoel Ramat HaSharon, Hapoel Azor
1988–89 Hapoel Rishon LeZion Hapoel Ramla, Hapoel Beit Shemesh
1989–90 Hapoel Ashdod 8 Hapoel Or Yehuda, Hapoel Dimona
1990–91 SK Nes Tziona 9 Maccabi Shikun HaMizrah, Hapoel Lod
1991–92 Hapoel Ashkelon Hapoel Yehud, Hapoel Aliyah Kfar Saba
1992–93 Ironi Rishon LeZion 10 Beitar Netanya
1993–94 Maccabi Kiryat Gat 11 Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen
1994–95 Hapoel Kfar Shalem Hapoel Be'er Ya'akov, Hapoel Daliyat al-Karmel
1995–96 Hapoel Ashkelon Hapoel Marmorek, Hapoel Merhavim
1996–97 Hapoel Lod Maccabi Shikun HaMizrah, Hapoel Kiryat Malakhi
1997–98 Beitar Be'er Sheva Hapoel Kiryat Ono, Hapoel Yehud
1998–99 Hapoel Ironi Dimona 12 Hapoel Yeruham, Beitar Ramla
Fourth tier
1999–2000 Maccabi Ashkelon 13 Hapoel Or Yehuda
2000–01 Maccabi Yavne Hapoel Ihud Tzeirei Jaffa, Sektzia Nes Tziona
2001–02 Maccabi Ramat Amidar Hapoel Kiryat Ono, Hapoel Lod, Maccabi Jerusalem/Ma'ale Adumim
2002–03 Hapoel Tira 14None15
2003–04 Maccabi Be'er Sheva 16 Hapoel Bat Yam
2004–05 Hapoel Bnei Lod Hapoel Qalansawe, Hapoel Jaljulia
2005–06 Sektzia Nes Tziona Maccabi Sha'arayim, F.C. Kafr Qasim, Beitar Givat Ze'ev
2006–07 Hapoel Maxim Lod 17 AS Jaffa, Hapoel Arad
2007–08 Maccabi Ironi Bat Yam Tzafririm Holon, Maccabi Amishav Petah Tikva, Ironi Ofakim
2008–09 Maccabi Be'er Sheva Ironi Ramla, Hapoel Masos Shaqib al-Salam
Third tier
2009–10 Hapoel Herzliya Beitar Kfar Saba, Hapoel Mevaseret Zion
2010–11 Hapoel Jerusalem Hapoel Nahlat Yehuda, Tzafririm Holon, Shimshon Bnei Tayibe
2011–12 Maccabi Yavne Maccabi Ironi Netivot, Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen, Maccabi Ironi Jatt Alahli
2012–13 Hapoel Katamon Hapoel Arad, Maccabi Ironi Kfar Yona, Ortodoxim Lod
2013–14 Maccabi Kiryat Gat Maccabi Be'er Ya'akov, Bnei Eilat
2014–15 Hapoel Ashkelon Maccabi Be'er Sheva, Maccabi Kiryat Malakhi
2015–16 Maccabi Sha'arayim Maccabi Amishav Petah Tikva, Bnei Eilat, Hapoel Morasha Ramat HaSharon

1 There was no automatic promotion in the 1973-74 season. Maccabi Sha'arayim finished sixth and bottom in the promotion play-offs and remained in Liga Alef.

2 SK Nes Tziona and Beitar Jaffa were reprieved from relegation after the Israel Football Association decided to expand Liga Leumit to 18 clubs and Liga Alef to 17 clubs in each division for the following season.

3 Hapoel Lod and Hapoel Bat Yam were also promoted.

4 Beitar Ramla were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef North, Hapoel Ramat HaSharon.

5 Hapoel Holon were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef North, Maccabi Hadera.

6 Hapoel Ramat HaSharon were also promoted after play-off victory over runners-up of Liga Alef North, Beitar Netanya.

7 Season played with 13 clubs after Tzafririm Holon merged with Liga Artzit club, Hapoel Holon.

8 Ironi Ashdod were also promoted after play-off victory over Maccabi Tamra of Liga Artzit.

9 Hakoah Ramat Gan were also promoted after play-off victory over Hapoel Bat Yam of Liga Artzit.

10 Hapoel Bat Yam were also promoted as runners-up.

11 Hapoel Lod were also promoted as runners-up.

12 Hapoel Ramat Gan, Maccabi Sha'arayim and Shimshon Tel Aviv were also promoted.

13 Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon were also promoted as the best runners-up in Liga Alef, following the merger of Liga Artzit clubs, Beitar Tel Aviv and Shimshon Tel Aviv.

14 Hapoel Marmorek were also promoted as the best runners-up in Liga Alef, after Beitar Be'er Sheva (which were relegated from Liga Leumit to Liga Artzit) folded.

15 No club relegated as both Beitar Be'er Sheva (which were relegated from Liga Leumit to Liga Artzit) and Hapoel Ironi Dimona folded.

16 Maccabi HaShikma Ramat Hen were also promoted as the best runners-up in Liga Alef, after Maccabi Kiryat Gat were demoted from Liga Leumit to Liga Alef.

17 Although Hapoel Maxim Lod finished top, they folded and second-placed Hapoel Kfar Shalem were promoted instead.

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