Israeli Premier League

For the top division of Israeli basketball, see Israeli Basketball Premier League.
Israeli Premier League

The Israeli Premier League logo
Country Israel
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1999 (1999)
Number of teams 14
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Liga Leumit
Domestic cup(s) State Cup
Toto Cup Al
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Hapoel Be'er Sheva
(3rd title)
Most championships Maccabi Tel Aviv
(21 titles)
TV partners Charlton Sport, Channel 1
2016–17 Israeli Premier League

The Israeli Premier League (Hebrew: ליגת העל, Ligat HaAl, lit. The Super League) is an Israeli professional league for association football clubs. It is the highest tier of the professional Israeli football league system. Contested by 14 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Liga Leumit. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 32 matches each, totalling 224 matches in the season. Five games are played on Saturdays, with one game played on Sundays and one game on Mondays. It is sponsored by Toto Winner and therefore officially known as Ligat Winner (Hebrew: ליגת ווינר).[1]

The competition formed on 1999 following the decision of the Israeli Football Association to form a new league. It is also ranked nineteenth in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years, ahead of the Belarusian Premier League and Poland's Ekstraklasa.[2]

Since 1923, a total of 14 clubs have been crowned champions of the Israeli football system. Of the twenty-seven clubs to have competed since the inception of the Israeli Premier League in 1999, five have won the title: Beitar Jerusalem (twice), Hapoel Tel Aviv (twice), Maccabi Haifa (seven times), Maccabi Tel Aviv (four times), and Ironi Kiryat Shmona (once). The current champions are Hapoel Be'er Sheva, who won the 2015–16 season.


Main article: Football in Israel

The Israeli Premier League was created in 1999 to replace Liga Leumit (which became the second tier) when the Israel Football Association decided to reshuffle all the leagues in hopes of improving competition. In its first season there were 14 clubs; the top thirteen clubs from the 1998–99 season and the top place club from the Liga Artzit (then the second division). That season three clubs were relegated and one from Liga Leumit was promoted. Over the years the league has changed names though the new names were simply commercial rebranding, including Ligat Pelephone, Ligat Toto and Ligat Winner.

The logo used from 2005 to 2008
The logo used from 2008 to 2010
The logo used for the 2010–11 season


There are 14 clubs in the league. At the end of each season, the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Liga Leumit while two highest-placed teams of Liga Leumit are promoted in their place. For the 2012–13 season the league was decreased from 16 to 14 clubs as a result of reforms passed by the IFA on 27 June 2011.[3]

The participating clubs first play a conventional round-robin schedule for a total of 26 matches.

Following this, the top six teams play in a championship playoff, where they meet each other twice. Upon its conclusion, the first place team wins the Israeli championship and qualifies to participate in the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up and the third-placed teams qualify for the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.

In Addition, the Israeli State Cup winners qualify for the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. If the State Cup winners are also one of the teams to finish in the league's top three places then the fourth-placed team will also play in Europa League. In case the State Cup winners also win the Israeli Premier League then the fourth-placed league team will play in Europa League second qualifying round.

In addition, the bottom eight teams will play each other once to avoid two relegation spots.


A total of 27 clubs have played in the Israeli Premier League from its inception in 1999 and the start of the 2011–12 season. For a list of winners and runners-up of the Israeli Premier League since its inception, and top scorers for each season, see List of Israeli football champions.

Four clubs have been members of the Israeli Premier League for every season since its inception. This group is composed of Beitar Jerusalem, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Members for 2015–16

The following 14 clubs will compete in the Israeli Premier League during the 2015–16 season.

in 2014–15
First season in
in the Israeli Premier League
Number of seasons
in the Israeli Premier League
First season of
current spell in
Israeli Premier League
Top division
Last top division title
Beitar Jerusalemab4th1999–2000161999–200062007–08
Bnei Sakhnin7th2003–04112007–080Never
Bnei Yehudab1st
Liga Leumit
Hapoel Ironi Acrea11th2009–1062009–100Never
Hapoel Be'er Sheva3rd2001–02112009–1021975–76
Hapoel Haifab12th1999–2000102009–1011998–99
Hapoel Ra'anana10th2009–1032013–140Never
Hapoel Kfar Sabab2nd;
Liga Leumit
Hapoel Tel Avivab8th1999–2000161999–2000132009–10
Ironi Kiryat Shmona2nd2007–0882010–1112011–12
Maccabi Haifaab5th1999–2000161999–2000122010–11
Maccabi Netanyab9th1999–2000132014–1551982–83
Maccabi Petah Tikvab6th1999–2000152013–140Never
Maccabi Tel Avivab1st1999–2000161999–2000212014–15

a: Never been relegated from the Israeli Premier League
b: One of the original 14 Israeli Premier League teams


In recent years, the league has been sponsored. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. The list below details who the sponsors have been and what they called the competition:

Number of foreigners

Teams are limited to five foreign players per team. Special circumstances such as Druze players from the Golan (no citizenship) or cases such as that of Toto Tamuz, do not count against the foreign player limit.

Broadcast Rights


Israeli Premier League games are broadcast live on Sport 1, Sport 1 HD, and Sport 2 channels, with the big match of the week which is reserved to be shown by Channel 1 and Channel 1 HD network television. There is also a league review show on Saturday nights at Sport 5 channel.

Abroad, rights to broadcasting in Hebrew are owned by The Israeli Network which broadcasts the matches in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Panama, Costa Rica and in Europe.

In the United Kingdom, William Hill broadcasts matches live with English commentary on their online television service, William Hill TV.


The rights of broadcasting on the radio belongs to Radio Tel Aviv since 2011, which broadcast alongside Radio Haifa, Radio Darom, Radio Galei Zahal and Radio Darom 101.5 in a show called Saturday of Football which also broadcasts live on ONE TV channel.


The big match of the week is shown on the Channel 1 website. Since 2010, games summaries are shown online by Ynet, ONE and Sport 5.


Since 2012, ONE owns the broadcasting rights, which was previously owned by Sport 5.


Main sources of revenue for the clubs:

UEFA league ranking

In European Leagues:

Source: UEFA Coefficients Graphs, 2017 UEFA Country Ranking
For updated information on UEFA coefficients as they change throughout the 201615 season, see UEFA coefficient § League coefficient.

List of champions

For the complete list read the main article.

Israeli Premier League (1999–present)

A stand full of football supporters clad in yellow and blue, beside a pitch.
Maccabi Tel Aviv celebrate winning the title at the end of the 2012–13 season

When the Israeli Premier League became the top division of Israeli football in 1999–2000, Liga Leumit became the second division. Since then, only six clubs have won the title; Hapoel Tel Aviv, Ironi Kiryat Shmona, Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Be'er Sheva. Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem are sometimes referred to as the "Big Four" of Israeli football.[4]

Having won seven titles in the league's 17 seasons, the most successful club during this period is Maccabi Haifa; during the same period Maccabi Tel Aviv have added four to their total while Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv have won two championships each. Although Hapoel Tel Aviv have only finished top of the league twice since 1999—in 1999–2000 and ten years later in 2009–10—they have won the double on both occasions.

This achievement was matched by Beitar Jerusalem in 2007–08. Ironi Kiryat Shmona won their first championship during the 2011–12 season, thereby becoming the first northern title-winners. Maccabi Tel Aviv then won three titles in a row, including a Treble in 2014–15.

dagger Champions also won the Israel State Cup during the same season.
double-dagger Champions also won the League Cup during the same season.
Section-sign Champions also won both cups during the same season.
(titles) A running tally of the total number of championships won by each club is kept in brackets.
Season Winner (titles) Runners-up Third place Top Scorer Goals Notes
1999–2000 Hapoel Tel Aviv (12)dagger Maccabi Haifa Hapoel Petah Tikva Tubi, AssiAssi Tubi (Maccabi Petah Tikva) 27
2000–01 Maccabi Haifa (6) Hapoel Tel Aviv Hapoel Haifa Nimni, AviAvi Nimni (Maccabi Tel Aviv) 25 [nb 1]
2001–02 Maccabi Haifa (7) Hapoel Tel Aviv Maccabi Tel Aviv Refua, KobiKobi Refua (Maccabi Petah Tikva) 18
2002–03 Maccabi Tel Aviv (18) Maccabi Haifa Hapoel Tel Aviv Abargil, YanivYaniv Abargil (Hapoel Kfar Saba)
Shay Holtzman (Ironi Rishon LeZion / Ashdod)
2003–04 Maccabi Haifa (8) Maccabi Tel Aviv Maccabi Petah Tikva Haim, OfirOfir Haim (Hapoel Be'er Sheva)
Shay Holtzman (F.C. Ashdod)
2004–05 Maccabi Haifa (9) Maccabi Petah Tikva F.C. Ashdod Colautti, RobertoRoberto Colautti (Maccabi Haifa) 19
2005–06 Maccabi Haifa (10)double-dagger Hapoel Tel Aviv Beitar Jerusalem Holtzman, ShayShay Holtzman (F.C. Ashdod) 18
2006–07 Beitar Jerusalem (5) Maccabi Netanya Maccabi Tel Aviv Azran, YanivYaniv Azran (F.C. Ashdod) 15
2007–08 Beitar Jerusalem (6)dagger Maccabi Netanya Ironi Kiryat Shmona Yeboah, SamuelSamuel Yeboah (Hapoel Kfar Saba) 15
2008–09 Maccabi Haifa (11) Hapoel Tel Aviv Beitar Jerusalem Yitzhaki, BarakBarak Yitzhaki (Beitar Jerusalem)
Shimon Abuhatzira (Hapoel Petah Tikva)
Eliran Atar (Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv)
2009–10 Hapoel Tel Aviv (13)dagger Maccabi Haifa Maccabi Tel Aviv Arbeitman, ShlomiShlomi Arbeitman (Maccabi Haifa) 28
2010–11 Maccabi Haifa (12) Hapoel Tel Aviv Maccabi Tel Aviv Tamuz, TotoToto Tamuz (Hapoel Tel Aviv) 21
2011–12 Ironi Kiryat Shmona (1)double-dagger Hapoel Tel Aviv Bnei Yehuda Saba'a, AchmadAchmad Saba'a (Maccabi Netanya) 20
2012–13 Maccabi Tel Aviv (19) Maccabi Haifa Hapoel Tel Aviv Atar, EliranEliran Atar (Maccabi Tel Aviv) 22
2013–14 Maccabi Tel Aviv (20) Hapoel Be'er Sheva Ironi Kiryat Shmona Zahavi, EranEran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel Aviv) 29
2014–15 Maccabi Tel Aviv (21)Section-sign Ironi Kiryat Shmona Hapoel Be'er Sheva Zahavi, EranEran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel Aviv) 27
2015–16 Hapoel Be'er Sheva (3) Maccabi Tel Aviv Beitar Jerusalem Zahavi, EranEran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel Aviv) 35

"Big Four" dominance

"Big Four" since the start of the Israeli Premier League[7]
Season BJ HT MH MT
1999–2000 5 1 2 6
2000–01 5 2 1 4
2001–02 10 2 1 3
2002–03 9 3 2 1
2003–04 9 5 1 2
2004–05 4 9 1 8
2005–06 3 2 1 6
2006–07 1 4 5 3
2007–08 1 7 5 6
2008–09 3 2 1 6
2009–10 5 1 2 3
2010–11 11 2 1 3
2011–12 9 2 5 6
2012–13 10 3 2 1
2013–14 7 4 5 1
2014–15 4 8 5 1
2015–16 3 9 4 2

Top scorers by season

1999–2000 Israel Assi Tubi 27 Maccabi Petah Tikva
2000–01 Israel Avi Nimni 25 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2001–02 Israel Kobi Refua 18 Maccabi Petah Tikva
2002–03 Israel Yaniv Abargil 18 Hapoel Kfar Saba
Israel Shay Holtzman 18 Ironi Rishon LeZion / FC Ashdod
2003–04 Israel Ofir Haim 16 Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Israel Shay Holtzman 16 FC Ashdod
2004–05 Israel Roberto Colautti 19 Maccabi Haifa
2005–06 Israel Shay Holtzman 18 FC Ashdod
2006–07 Israel Yaniv Azran 15 FC Ashdod
2007–08 Ghana Samuel Yeboah 15 Hapoel Kfar Saba
2008–09 Israel Barak Yitzhaki 14 Beitar Jerusalem
Israel Shimon Abuhatzira 14 Hapoel Petah Tikva
Israel Eliran Atar 14 Bnei Yehuda
2009–10 Israel Shlomi Arbeitman 28 Maccabi Haifa
2010–11 Israel Toto Tamuz 21 Hapoel Tel Aviv
2011–12 Israel Ahmad Saba'a 20 Maccabi Netanya
2012–13 Israel Eliran Atar 22 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2013–14 Israel Eran Zahavi 29 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2014–15 Israel Eran Zahavi 27 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2015–16 Israel Eran Zahavi 35 Maccabi Tel Aviv

All-time table

The All-time Israeli Premier League table is a cumulative record of all match results, points and goals of every team that has played in the Israeli Premier League since its inception in 1999. The table that follows is accurate as of the end of the 2013–14 season. Teams in bold are part of the 2016–17 Israeli Premier League. Numbers in bold are the record (highest) numbers in each column.

Pos. Club S Pld W D L GF GFPG GA GAPG GD Pts R Avg. Pts
1Maccabi Haifa 14484285113868711.84150.85744696874 69.14
2Hapoel Tel Aviv 144842481281097741.5994570.944317868[nb 2]262 62
3Maccabi Tel Aviv 144842241211397091.4654861.004225787[nb 3]214 56.21
4Beitar Jerusalem 144811851291576881.435751.19573708[nb 4]2 2 50.57
5F.C. Ashdod 144811631211966011.2496801.414–51610 1 43.57
6Maccabi Petah Tikva 134441621261565321.1985241.188609[nb 5] 11 46.85
7Maccabi Netanya 134461591291585561.2475751.289–16603 2 246.38
8Bnei Yehuda 134511581161775321.185951.319–63588 1 145.23
9Hapoel Petah Tikva 12415127871815051.2176181.489–113476[nb 6] 1439.67
10Hapoel Haifa 8281911061043441.2243491.2424359 1244.88
11Hapoel Be'er Sheva 826896671053421.2763801.418–38355 144.38
12Bnei Sakhnin 930390851283071.1373901.444–80353[nb 7] 139.22
13Ironi Kiryat Shmona 51747051532171.2471871.075302611 1152.2
14Hapoel Kfar Saba 51714055761911.1172721.591–81172[nb 8] 334.4
15Hapoel Ironi Acre 41384046511751.2681901.377–15167 41.75
16Hapoel Rishon LeZion 51804141981951.0833161.756–121164 232.8
17Maccabi Herzliya 31052524561121.0671791.705–6799 233
18Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon 273231733680.9951.3–2786 43
19Hapoel Ramat Gan 3103192955960.9321601.553–6482[nb 9] 227.33
20Hapoel Nazareth Illit 266202026711.076931.409–2280 140
21Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan 266122133580.8791001.515–4257 228.5
22Maccabi Ahi Nazareth 268151340731.0741432.103–7055[nb 10] 227.5
23Hapoel Ra'anana 13561019330.943581.657–2528 128
24Maccabi Kiryat Gat 1337620341.03581.758–2427 127
25Hapoel Jerusalem 1396627330.846822.103–4924 124
26Hapoel Ashkelon 1359521330.943661.886–3317 117
27Hapoel Tzafririm Holon 1384430250.658852.237–6016 116
[nb 11]
[nb 12]

League or status at 2015–16:

2015–16 Israeli Premier League
2015–16 Liga Leumit
2015–16 Liga Alef
2015–16 Liga Bet
2015–16 Liga Gimel
Clubs that no longer exist


  1. Maccabi Haifa's final match of the 2000–01 season, at home against Maccabi Tel Aviv, was abandoned after 82 minutes with Maccabi Haifa 3–2 ahead when supporters attempted to invade the pitch, resulting in a crush which injured 41 people. Maccabi Tel Aviv were awarded a 2–0 victory.[5][6]
  2. Hapoel Tel Aviv were deducted 3 points
  3. Maccabi Tel Aviv were deducted 6 points
  4. Beitar Jerusalem were deducted 6 points
  5. Maccabi Petah Tikva were deducted 3 points
  6. Hapoel Petah Tikva were deducted 12 points
  7. Bnei Sakhnin were deducted 2 points
  8. Hapoel Kfar Saba were deducted 3 points
  9. Hapoel Ramat Gan were deducted 4 points
  10. Maccabi Ahi Nazareth were deducted 3 points
  11. 838 games ended up with a draw, resulting up with 1,676 points
  12. 42 points were deducted over the years


  1. "Israeli Premier League will now be known as "Ligat Winner"" (in Hebrew). . ONE. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  2. "UEFA ranking of European leagues". UEFA. 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  3. "This season will have no halving of points" (in Hebrew). . ONE. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  4. Sinai, Allon (2011-07-20). "Local Soccer: Season schedule released". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  5. Bleicher, Yaniv (2001-09-13). "Israel 2000/01". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  6. Adar, Shaul (October 2010). "Walid objection". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  7. Israel Football Association

External links

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