Since becoming the first Israeli elected on to Uefa Executive Committee, IFA chairman Avi Luzon’s first assignment was to defend national team boss Dror Kashtan, who came under attack from the media following the draw at home to Greece.
Trailing 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Ramat Gan, Israel were booed off the pitch. But Luazon said that Kashtan would remain manager until the end of the qualifying campaign regardless of results.
He singled out former national team manager Shlomo Scharf and ex-Premier League star Eyal Berkovic, both media commentators, for his wrath.
“Scharf was national team manager for eight years and had the country’s most talented ever generation of players and he did not qualify for anything. Berkovic wants to be national team manager but he has more chance of flying into outer space.”
The national team aside, Luzon celebrated a major personal victory at the Uefa Congress in Copenhagen when he was elected on to the 15-man Executive Committee. He received 28 out of 53 votes from most of the Football Associations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as well from England, and will serve a four-year term.
“This is the first time that Israel has had a representative on the Executive Committee,” he said, “and I see this as an honour for the country rather than me personally.”
A senior executive with Israel Discount Bank, Luzon will be required to attend 15 meetings a year in Switzerland and will vote when locations are selected for European club finals and international tournaments.
“I hope to play a full role in Uefa decision making and would like to chair the Finance Committee. But the incumbent may be reluctant to give up his position so I may have to settle for a less important post.”
Luzon led a six-person Israel FA delegation to Copenhagen to learn how to stage next year’s Uefa Congress in Tel Aviv.