After crisis filled 2019/20 season, the Palestine Football Association has announced that the WBPL and the semi-professional second division is set to return to action at the end of the month.
Completing the previous season after a stoppage due to the Coronavirus outbreak was something of an accomplishment for the Palestine Football Association. Even before the pandemic, clubs in the West Bank had struggled to meet their financial obligations to their players.
WBPL players had not been paid for the first three months of the calendar year and were strong armed by the PFA to give up wages they were owed just before the restart of the 2019/20 season.
The chaos and ill-will has resulted in a mass exodus of the league’s best players. Hilal Al-Quds who won an unprecedented three titles between 2016 and 2019 are now rudderless following the exits of Mohammed Rashid, Rami Hamadi, and Abdallah Jaber.
October 30th will see the new season kickoff with reigning champions Merkaz Balata favorites to lift the title again.
Below are the new regulations that will govern the 2020/21 season:
- Only 22 players will be allowed to be active on match days
- Only two team officials allowed on the bench, five will be placed int he stands
- No press allowed, post match press conferences will be suspended.
- Dressing rooms are off limits, players will not be allowed to shower or congregate in the area before, during, or after the match.
- Only three stadia will be used: Faisal Al-Husseini Memorial Stadium, Dora Stadium, and Arab-American University Stadium
- Teams will be allowed five substitutions through the first three rounds of matches
- Teams with 13 infected players or less than 13 players available will be withdrawn from the competition.
The fixtures for the first week of WBPL action are as follows:
- Al-Dhahrieh vs. Shabab Al-Samu’
- Taraji Wadi Al-Nes vs. Hilal Al-Quds
- Jabal Al-Mukaber vs. Shabab Al-Khaleel
- Merkaz Balata vs. Al-Bireh Institute
- Tubas vs. Ahli Al-Khaleel
- Merkaz Al-Am’ary vs. Thaqafi Tulkarem