“The writing was on the wall”: the union’s demands that led Yossi Benyon to the explosion

The chairman of the football association, Shino Zoertz, completed within 12 hours the work of terminating the contract with the professional manager of the Israel national team, Yossi Benyon, as well as with the national coach Alon Hazan. “It was not pleasant, but it was the right step professionally,” said the association. On the other hand, Banyon himself is hurt by the conduct around him, and claims that the understandings between him and Zoertz were violated for him to continue for two more years, the option that was in his contract.

The two meetings, between Zoertz and Benion and the cantor, were short and exhausting. After the professional manager’s journey ended – the outgoing coach arrived, where it was already clear from the beginning where things were going and the meeting came to an end within minutes. The professional team claimed that “the writing was on the wall”. In recent months, according to the members of the professional staff, strange demands have been made, especially towards Benyon, such as for example “to sign a card” every time he comes to the House of Representatives – a demand that was not made by anyone in the position before him, certainly not by Willy Rothensteiner.

The Chairman of the Football Association Shino Zoertz, Photo: Audi Citiat

The association probably tried to monitor the working hours of the professional director, a significant part of his work was not at all in the House of Representatives. Later this requirement was canceled, but in the process changes were made in the management team around the national team as part of horizontal changes along the way, including the moving aside of Avi Levy, for example, who served as a kind of top manager of the national team and the vice president of the association.

Levy left even before the game against Iceland, and now Banyon and Hazan are also taking their place. “There will be a completely new team,” insiders said. “Exchanging places is always difficult, certainly due to the recent results, which hurt everyone.” Now Zoertz is interested in speeding up the appointment of the next coach, and the first on the list is Barak Becher.

Barak Becher, Photography: Ilan Zisso

The turn to Bakr will be quick, and already after the first meeting they will know where the wind is blowing. In fact, the whole picture surrounding the decorated coach is clear to the association, mainly due to the direct relationship between him and the association’s vice chairman, attorney Moran Meiri, who represents him in the lawsuit against Red Star Belgrade. Therefore, if assistance is needed, Bacher just needs to give the green light to Mairi to take care of things, including the amounts specified in his contract for the next season in Serbia (currently, the Red Star owes Bacher more than half a million euros, and the amount increases every month).

Zoertz and Meiri are leading a move that will go through the professional committee, which also has a consensus regarding the argument that Bacher is the leading candidate for the national office. Both, by the way, feel clean in regards to the change, since they are not the ones who signed the appointments of Yossi Banyon and Alon Hazan, which were received as a dowry from Oren Hasson’s time as chairman of the association.

Moran Meiri (center), Photo: Alan Shiver

If the attempt to appoint Becher does not succeed, the association will continue with the next option – the Cypriot AAK Larnaca coach, Ran Ben Shimon. The latter also has experience in coaching national teams, having done so in the Cyprus national team. Officials in the association claimed that it is not impossible that the professional committee will meet with the two coaches, Bacher and Ben Shimon, before making its final recommendations.

The association is considering offering the next coach a four-year contract in order to convince him to accept the position and create a process that will end for them in Euro 2028. Zoertz said in internal conversations that he is aware of the slim chance of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, certainly through the League of Nations, where Israel is in Tier A with Belgium, France and Italy. Only the team that finishes first will advance from the qualifying house, while the runner-up will go to the playoffs and not necessarily advance.

Ben Shimon Another option, Photography: Oren Aharoni

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“There is a young and talented generation that has proven itself in the junior team and the youth team,” explained a senior official in the association. “Now we need to put everything together in the senior team. This is a possible task, and this will be the ultimate goal. Israel needs to be competitive and good in the World Cup qualifiers, and at the end of the process reach the next Euro. This is a realistic goal that every coach who arrives will have to meet.”

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