Casspi set for France after snub
NBA STAR Omri Casspi has rejected the opportunity to move back to Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Casspi, who has spent the past two years in the USA with the Sacramento Kings, had hoped to secure a move home following the NBA lockout.
But a snag over the amount of tax he would be required to pay has persuaded the 23-year-old to consider joining French side Villeurbane along with San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker.
“Unfortunately, several significant problems like taxes have prevented me from joining the team I most wanted to play for,” Casspi wrote on his Facebook page.
“I wish to thank David Federman and Shimon Mizrahi for their sincerity and understanding throughout the negotiations. I have immense respect for both of them.
“I want to thank all Maccabi fans for their love, and at this moment in time I’m as sad as they are.”
Meanwhile, Casspi has been left out of the Israel squad to play in the Eurobasket next week after he broke down with a recurring knee problem.
“We decided to put an end to the ‘yes, no, yes, no,’ situation,” said Israel coach Arik Shivek. “Omri won’t be joining us. The current squad players are those who will take part i n the tournament, a n d t h a t ’ s
Maccabi Haifa boss Elisha Levi has launched a scathing attack on England’s World Cup final referee Howard Webb following his side’s exit from the Champions League.
Maccabi, who crashed out of the competition following a penalty shootout defeat by Belgian champions Genk, were incensed by a number of Webb’s decisions during the second leg of their play-off tie.
Webb, who is regarded as one of the top referees in world football, courted controversy after sending off Itzhak Cohen for a second bookable offence during extra-time.
The Premier League official was fully 40-yards away from the action but still decided to give Cohen his marching orders – despite the assistant referee failing to flag for a foul.
Levi was already fuming at Webb’s failure to spot infringements in the lead up to both of Genk’s goals as the Belgians overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit with a 2-1 victory of their own before winning on penalties.
“I think Genk’s goals were both scored with a great deal of help from the officials,” blasted Levi.
“There were clear fouls before the goals on Itzhak Cohen and Gustavo Boccoli.”
Eyal Golasa’s spectacular strike had cancelled out Jelle Vossen’s opener for Genk, only for former Rangers man Thomas Buffel to take the game into extra-time and penalties.
Maccabi duo Golasa and striker Vladimir Dvalishvili both had their spot kicks saved as the home side triumphed 4-1.
The defeat is expected to cost Maccabi eight million euros after they missed out on a place in the prestigious Champions League group stage.
Instead, Levi’s side are expected to pocket just one million euros after dropping into today’s Europa League draw.
Former Maccabi hero Elyaniv Barda, who scored a crucial away goal for Genk last week, was left in the unfamiliar situation of celebrating a Haifa defeat. He said: “It was weird for me to play against the team I helped become champions twice. “But there was no sentiment on the pitch, only afterwards. It’s a great feeling for us and cruel for them.”
Howards’s Way: Nir Davidovitch looks down and out while Webb was heavily criticised by Levi
Net worth: Casspi going French