Hapoel Haifa

Founded In
Hefa (Haifa), Israel

About Hapoel Haifa

Hapoel Haifa Football Club was first established in April 1924 and initially had strong ties to the labour movement. Historically, the club have played their part in an intense rivalry with the other major team from the city, Maccabi Haifa. As well as being a local football rivalry, the derby match has carried extra significance due to the conflicting political ideologies of the two sides' core fan base. Hapoel Haifa are nicknamed 'The Sharks'.

The team have enjoyed some significant success in domestic football, but the team suffered financial difficulties during the 1980s, before being saved from collapse by Ruby Shapira. After Shapira reduced his financial commitments early in the new millennium, the side was bought out by Yoav Katz.

Over the years, the team have collected a number of domestic honours. In 1962–63, 1965–66 and 1973–74, they lifted the Israel State Cup, while in 2000–01 and 2012–13, they picked up the Toto Cup. The 1998–99 campaign marked the side's greatest ever success so far, as they were crowned as league champions for the first time. As a result of their domestic performances, they have entered numerous European tournaments. In 2000, they became the first Israeli team to successfully make it to the UEFA Champions League's third qualifying round, after defeating Beşiktaş. Unfortunately, they were eliminated by Valencia.

Some of the most notable players to have played for the team include Roby Young, Abba Gindin and Yitzhak Englander.

Hapoel Haifa currently play home matches at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, which they share with their rivals, Maccabi Haifa. The venue, sometimes known as the Haifa Municipal Stadium, opened in 1956 and is able to hold 14,002 supporters. However, in 2014, the club are set to move into the newly built Sammy Ofer Stadium, which will be able to hold a capacity of approximately 30,000.

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