Israeli Premier League

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Israeli Premier League
Israeli Premier League.png
Organising bodyIsrael Football Association
Founded1999; 24 years ago (1999)
Number of teams14 (since 2013–14)
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toLiga Leumit
Domestic cup(s)Israel State Cup
Toto Cup (Al)
Israel Super Cup
International cup(s)UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa Conference League
Current championsMaccabi Haifa
(15th title)
Most championshipsMaccabi Tel Aviv
(23 titles)
TV partnersCharlton Sport,
Current: 2022–23 Israeli Premier League

The Israeli Premier League (Hebrew: ליגת העל, Ligat Ha`Al, lit.'The Super League'), is a professional association football league which operates as the highest division of the Israeli Football League – the state's league of Israel. The league is contested by 14 clubs, and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with its second division Liga Leumit. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing between 33 and 36 matches each, totalling 240 matches in every season.

The competition formed in 1999 following the decision of the Israel Football Association to form a new league. It is also ranked 21st in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years.[1]

Since 1932, a total of 15 clubs have been crowned champions of the Israeli Football League. Of the thirty clubs to have competed since the inception of the Israeli Premier League in 1999, six have won the title: Beitar Jerusalem (twice), Hapoel Be'er Sheva (three times), Hapoel Tel Aviv (twice), Maccabi Haifa (Ten times), Maccabi Tel Aviv (six times), and Ironi Kiryat Shmona (once). The current champions are Maccabi Haifa, who won the 2022–23 season.


The Israeli Premier League was founded in 1999 to replace its predecessor Liga Leumit (which became the second division) 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 third division). That season three clubs were relegated and one from Liga Leumit was promoted.[citation needed]


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.[2]

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 first qualifying round of the 2021–22 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up and the third-placed teams qualify for the second qualifying round of the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League.

In addition, the Israeli State Cup winners qualify for the second qualifying round of the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference 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 second qualifying round of the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League.

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


A total of 30 clubs have played in the Israeli Premier League from its inception in 1999 and the start of the 2022–23 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.

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

Members of the 2022–23 season[edit]

The following 14 clubs will compete in the Israeli Premier League during the 2022–23 season.

in 2021–22
First season 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 Jerusalem[a][b] 10th 1999–2000 23 1999–2000 6 2007–08
Bnei Sakhnin 6th 2009–10 17 2020–21 0 Never
F.C. Ashdod 9th 2009–10 22 2013–14 0 Never
Hapoel Be'er Sheva 2nd 2001–02 17 2009–10 5 2017–18
Hapoel Hadera 8th 2018–19 5 2018–19 0 Never
Hapoel Haifa[b] 11th 1999–2000 17 2009–10 1 1998–99
Hapoel Jerusalem [b] 12th 1999–2000 3 2021-22 0 Never
Ironi Kiryat Shmona 7th 2003–04 14 2007–08 1 2011–12
Hapoel Tel Aviv[b] 5th 1999–2000 22 2018–19 13 2009–10
Maccabi Bnei Reineh 1st Liga Leumit 2022–23 1 2022–23 0 Never
Maccabi Haifa[a][b] 1st 1999–2000 23 1999–2000 14 2021–22
Maccabi Netanya 4th 2003–04 21 2017–18 5 1982–83
Maccabi Tel Aviv[a][b] 3rd 1999–2000 23 1999–2000 23 2019–20
Sektzia Ness Ziona 2nd Liga Leumit 2019–20 2 2022–23 0 Never
  1. ^ a b c Never been relegated from the Israeli Premier League
  2. ^ a b c d e f One of the original 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:

  • 1999–2002: Pelephone – a mobile phone company (Ligat Pelephone)[3]
  • 2005–2010: Toto Winner Organization – the Israeli Sports Betting Board (Ligat Toto)
  • 2010–2016: Toto Winner Organization – the Israeli Sports Betting Board (Ligat Winner)[4]
  • 2016–2018: Toto Winner Organization – the Israeli Sports Betting Board (Ligat Ha'al)[5]
  • 2018–2019: Japanika – Asian restaurant (Ligat Japanika)[6]
  • 2019–2022: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange – Stock Exchange (Ligat Habursa Leniyarot Erech)[7]
  • 2022–2024: ONE ZERO – Digital Bank (Ligat ONE ZERO)[8]

Number of foreigners[edit]

Teams are limited to six 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. In addition, players who play in the league for 6 consecutive years do not count against the foreign player limit. Also, Jewish players and players who are married to Israelis are exempt from these restrictions, as they are entitled to Israeli citizenship.

Broadcast Rights[edit]


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 Sport 5 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:

  • Broadcast rights
  • Ticket sales
  • Merchandise
  • Toto Winner – The Israeli Sports Betting Council
  • Sponsorship

UEFA league ranking[edit]

In European Leagues: