Match night – Maccabi Tel Aviv

The city of Tel Aviv – located along a strip of the Mediterranean coast – is marked by its 1930’s UNESCO listed Bauhaus buildings many of which are clustered in the White City architectural area.  

This is a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city known for its accessible varied beaches, liberal attitudes, contemporary art museums and vibrant nightlife.

Tel Aviv was the first modern city built in Israel, and it is the economic and cultural centre.

In 1954 the Israel Football Association was admitted to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and they played in the 1970 FIFA World Cup Finals in Mexico.  In 1974, the Israel Football Association was expelled from the AFC due to political pressure from Arab and Muslim member nations largely related to the ongoing political activities of Israel in the region.

However, the IFA were admitted to UEFA as an associate member. Since 1992, Israeli clubs have been playing in the various UEFA club competitions.

Likewise, the Israeli national team plays in UEFA and FIFA Qualifying tournaments.

Integration into European football has came as a breath of fresh air to Israeli football. But with it has came the difficulties of adapting to a higher level of competition and the wider political controversy of Israeli participation.

There are two big football clubs in Tel Aviv.  

Founded in 1906 Maccabi Tel Aviv are the oldest, largest and most decorated football club.

The main rivals of Maccabi are Hapoel Tel Aviv established in 1923.  Both these clubs share the Bloomfield Stadium located in the Tel Aviv district of Jaffa with another smaller club Bnei Yehuda.

With its location across the sea from Cyprus and sandwiched between Egypt and Jordan, Tel Aviv is a really interesting place to watch football. 

With the media spotlight and the global growth of television coverage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League so the names of Israeli club sides are becoming better known across Europe.  

The top clubs (especially those from Tel Aviv) are not without respect either when viewed through only a football lens.

It is expected that the Champions of the Israeli Premier League will continue to provide a serious challenge for a group stage place in the Champions League during the years ahead.

Politics however is ever present and football here is not immune however hard fans try to keep out of it all – especially so where war is concerned.