The Israeli women’s basketball league canceled its entire season after local players went on strike to protest a new rule giving more playing opportunities to foreigners. The decision leaves several top WNBA players out of work.
This is the first time in the league’s 54-year history that a whole season has been scrapped. Israel has one of Europe’s top professional leagues, and the WNBA said 13 of its players spent their winter in Israel last season.
Most of the league’s top players are Americans who come over after the WNBA season. Players who were set to take part this season included Jia Perkins of the San Antonio Silver Stars, Tanisha Wright of the Seattle Storm, Karima Christmas of the Tulsa Shock and Plenette Pierson of the New York Liberty.
The strike centered on the league’s decision to reverse a policy requiring teams to have at least two Israeli players on the court at any time — a rule that is common in Europe to help promote local talent. The new regulations would allow teams to play four foreigners at the same time, angering local players who saw their possibilities of earning playing time diminished. A similar rule change took place this offseason in the Israeli men’s league as well.
– Reported by Aron Heller of the Associated Press