Liga Gimel (Hebrew: ליגה ג', lit. League C) is the fifth and bottom division of Israeli Football League, a position it has held since 2009. From Liga Alef and downwards to this, each league is separated by region as well.
|Number of teams||16X8|
|Level on pyramid||5|
|Promotion to||B League|
|Domestic cup(s)||State Cup|
|Current champions||Maccabi Ahva Sha'ab (Upper Galilee) |
Hapoel Ironi Safed (Upper Galilee)
Maccabi Tzeirei Shefa-'Amr (Lower Galilee)
Hapoel Ironi Arraba (Lower Galilee)
Ahi Bir al-Maksur (Jezreel)
Maccabi Ironi Tirat HaCarmel (Samaria)
Beitar Haifa (Samaria)
Hapoel Pardesiya (Sharon)
Roei Heshbon Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv)
Beitar Ashdod (Central)
F.C. Arad (South)
Liga Gimel was first established in 1951 as a third division, below Liga Alef and Liga Bet. In 1955, after designating the first tier as Liga Leumit, Liga Gimel was demoted to the fourth tier. Further demotions followed in 1976, after the second tier Liga Artzit to the fifth tier and in 1999, after the establishment of Liga Ha'Al to the sixth tier. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Liga Artzit was scrapped and Liga Gimel was brought up back to the fifth tier.
Since its establishment Liga Gimel was divided into geographical divisions, to lower operating costs for the clubs, the number of which changed according to the number of club which registered, with as many as 16 divisions in the 1966–68 season. During this period promotion to Liga Bet alternated between direct promotion and through promotion play-offs, which were used to set eight teams for promotion. Following the establishment of Liga Dalet, in 1969, Liga Gimel were divided into 8 divisions, from which one team was promoted directly to Liga Bet and one relegated to Liga Dalet. After the dissolution of Liga Dalet, in 1985, and until the end of the 2001–02 season, the league was divided into 12 divisions, with promotion playoffs.
Although currently Liga Gimel is the bottom tier in the Israeli league pyramid, from 1969–70 and up until the 1984-85 season a further tier, Liga Dalet was below Liga Gimel, until it was scrapped due to declining number of teams.
The top club from each division is promoted at the end of the season to Liga Bet (the fourth level). Teams are assigned to their new Liga Bet divisions based on their geographical locations, with each of two division feeding to its corresponding Liga Bet division (Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee to Liga Bet North A, Jezreel and Samaria to North B, Sharon and Tel Aviv to South A and Center and South to South B). The second and third placed teams in each division enter a promotion/relegation play-off, at the end of which four teams from Liga Gimel meet the loser of the Liga Bet relegation play-off match (between the 13th and 14th placed team in their corresponding division) for a place in Liga Bet. As it is the lowest division, no clubs are relegated.
The following teams participating at the 2020-2021 season:
Liga Gimel Upper Galilee
Liga Gimel Lower Galilee
Liga Gimel Jezreel
Liga Gimel Samaria
Liga Gimel Sharon
Liga Gimel Tel Aviv
Liga Gimel Central
Liga Gimel South
Defunct division champions (since 1996–97)Edit
- 1996–97: Hapoel Kabul
- 1998–99: Maccabi Ironi Shlomi
- 1999–2000: Hapoel Maghar
- 2000-2001:Hapoel Karmiel
- 2003-04: Hapoel Bnei Julis
- 2004-05: Beitar Ihud Mashhad
- 1996–97: Ironi I'billin
- 1998–99: Hapoel Kaukab
- 1999–2000: Hapoel Bnei Manda
- Liga Dalet in Football Will Be Operated Starting Next Year Maariv, 17 October 1968, Historical Jewish Press (in Hebrew)
- https://www.football.org.il/files/SiteCollectionDocuments/FTP/eitan/takanon/2019/alifot29.8.pdf תקנון האליפות] IFA (in Hebrew)