The club will be forced to evacuate Kiryat Haim Stadium

23 years after she entered Hapoel Haifa ToKiryat Haim Stadium Haifa Magistrate’s Court judge Keren Margolin Feldman ruled today (Sunday) that the team must vacate the stadium by August 15 this year, effectively leaving the team without a training ground. This, in preparation for the club’s 100th anniversary.

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Kiryat Haim Stadium

(Photo: Danny Grau)

In the 1980s, the stadium served not only as a home for the club’s youth department, but also as the home field for the senior team. In 1993, when the owner Robi Shapira accepted the team for his management, he also received the field as well as 50 percent of the construction rights in the stadium in exchange for transferring half of the profits that would be from a real estate project that was supposed to be built there.

But Shapira passed away and the group was transferred to the liquidators led by attorney Yoel Goldberg. After two years the court transferred the group from the liquidators to the owner Yoav Katz.

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The owner is Yoav KatzThe owner is Yoav Katz

The owner is Yoav Katz

(Photo: Oren Aharoni)

The confrontation between the Histadrutthe owner of the lot which she received on lease from the Israel Land Administration, and the owner of Hapoel Yoav Katz started already 3 years ago, when the contract that the group had for decades came to an end in 2020. A year before the end of the contract in which Hapoel received the place without any rent except for water and electricity payments And the property tax, the Histadrut in Haifa contacted Katz and made it clear to him that it wanted to continue renting the lot to him, but demanded a monthly rent of about NIS 20,000 per month.

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Kiryat Haim StadiumKiryat Haim Stadium

Kiryat Haim Stadium

(Photo: Nahum Segal)

Katz refused and the parties went to court as mentioned. In court, the Histadrut had already asked for the removal of the group from the complex and was not interested in renting it out.

Katz made a claim that the complex does not belong to the Histadrut at all and it cannot demand rent, since the administration owns the lot. Attorney Ilan Gurvitz, who represented the Histadrut in the lawsuit, revealed to the judge a new contract between the Histadrut and the manager, according to which the land was transferred to the Histadrut for decades more, and thus Attorney Gurvitz effectively removed the entire infrastructure for Katz’s claims. Now there is a tangible threat to the continued activity of the club’s youth department.

It should be noted that two years ago the Haifa businessman Tzachi Nakash took over the department, invested more than a million shekels in renovating the entire surface, added night lighting and actually operated the entire department instead. Katz will not invest tens of thousands of shekels in an alternative training complex and in fact the continued operation of the department is in great danger.

Following the dramatic decision, the Hapoel Haifa club stated: “This is a decision that is disconnected from reality and its consequences are a death sentence for Hapoel Haifa’s youth department and the deportation of thousands of children to the streets. The Histadrut, which established the Kiryat Haim Stadium more than 60 years ago for the benefit of Hapoel Haifa and its youth department, is also the one that The knife is above our neck. We intend to fight the decision with all our strength and the means at our disposal and, of course, file an appeal to the court.”

Tzachi Nakash told Meint Kiryot: “There is a real existential threat to the youth department and if the group does not stay in Kiryat Haim, I don’t see how it continues to operate.”