The club was granted the award by the New Israel Fund’s (NIF) anti-racism campaign ‘Kick it Out Israel’ based on Haifa’s fans consistent support of the players, both Israelis and Arabs; their respectful attitude towards referees, opposing teams and supporters; and the youth division programme to promote integration and positive values.
The New Israel Fund’s work to advance democracy and promote equality for all Israelis has been helped by its anti-racism campaign in football, which also uses the sport as mean of building bridges between Jewish and Arab communities.
“We are proud of Hapoel Haifa’s supporters, who have shown great respect to others, while at the same time always encouraging their team. In their last home match they invited children from the nearby Arab town of Shfaram to watch the game. This is a great example of the club’s commitment to a shared society” said Itzik Shanan, NIF Director of Communications.
The ‘Best Behaved Fans’ award was first launched in the 2008/09 season and through the monitoring of matches it has helped to set out actions developed by fan groups, such as racist chanting, violence or inclusive and anti-discrimination initiatives.
The award ceremony took place before a match between Hapoel and Beitar Jerusalem and featured representatives from the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and government representatives.