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Haifa President fury point loss in league reshuffle

    Jacob Shahar, the Maccabi Haifa President, has blasted Ligat Ha'al organisers after his team's lead at the top of the Israeli Premier Division was cut to three points following a league restructure.

    Maccabi's goalless draw against city rivals Hapoel saw the title race blown wide open after their lead was cut from eight points to three following the introduction of a complex new system introduced by the Israel FA resulted in all teams having their points halved.

    Shahar said: "Titles should be decided on the pitch. This new system only harms football and won't bring in bigger crowds."

    The top six teams will now play each other once in a playoff round in the season's five remaining weeks so that when Hapoel Tel Aviv travel to Haifa, who led by 12 points in February, on Saturday week, they could go top as the Reds already have a better goal difference.

    There will also be a playoff between the bottom six teams with John Gregory's Ahi Nazareth in 15th place in the 16-team league after losing 2-0 playing Bnei Sakhnin.

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