Thursday, July 6, 2017

Departmental, Municipal and Companies Sports in Mandate Palestine

Issam Khalidi

   Sports in Palestine was not limited to Arab and Jewish sports clubs and federations, rather it included British Mandate's sports, departmental and companies league, Scouts-athletic teams, schools' sports and others.
    British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. The British established the Jerusalem Sports Club in 1921. The Government Departmental League was founded in 1921, it was the first league in Palestine. It only operated in Jerusalem, it was a great success, but owing to the reduction in the staff of the various Departments especially in regard to the British Personnel, the League fell into abeyance in 1925. The season 1924 can be considered to be the turning point of the game as in this year, the Jerusalem Flower Cup and the Municipal Cup Competitions came into existence.[1]
   The Government Departmental included: Municipalities, Railways Customs, Health, Lands, Immigration, Education, Public Affairs, Post Office, Agriculture and Justice. While Companies included Potash , Shell, Barclay’s Bank, Electric, Iraqi Oil, Electric. These departments and companies included Arab, Jews, Armenians and British players. The Departments and Companies Football League re-started in 1938. Some cities had its own league such as Jerusalem. Palestine Police had its own teams in most of the cities in Palestine. In 1932, Shell took part in a tournament organized by the Jerusalem Municipality along with Arab Sports Club, Orthodox Club, ha-Nowah, Hatzvi  and YMCA.

    Palestine Bulletin brought the following news about the Governmental League:
The League which was first formed in 1921 is entirely confined to Government officials and as many of the Clubs have in their ranks some of Palestine's Senior Footballers the standard of play is well up to the average.
   In a report titled (Palestine Football Prospect) in October 1932, Palestine Bulletin PB described  the Government Departmental League  Jerusalem:
This the oldest League in Palestine after a lapse of three years, was, last year revived and the good season experienced has given an incentive to continue activities, the League will this year probably consist of the following team:- Public Health, (last year’s Champions) Post Office, Education, Law Courts, a combined tam from the Immigration and Lands Registry, a combined team of Public Works and Agriculture and further team consisting of the Government Departments who are not represented by a composite team.[2]

   It also mentioned about the Municipal Cup Competition Jerusalem :
   Organised in 1924 for minor teams, this League has provided the early training of the Junior Player and has been of great service in bringing along young players for the more senior Leagues, this season there will be 10 teams competing in this League consisting of the reserve teams of the Flower League teams, some of whom are entering two elevens.
The Municipal League, Governmental League and the Flower (founded in 1923, it included  Rawdat al-Ma'arif, YMCA, Arab SC, Shell, Nordia, Ofir and ha-Oar ha-Oved) League are not affiliated with any Association and are open to any Club who cares to compete irrespective of creed or nationality they therefore escape the political influence that are so predominant amongst Association Leagues and Competitions and the games are played with perfect goodwill and freedom. [3]
  In November 1940 Palestine Post PP brought this news: "The third week of the current season of the Departments and Companies Football League went off like its predecessors without incident or postponement of fixtures, and at the end at the end of the week, no less thank there teams were bounced together at the top of the League table, level on points. The Police clerical staff team take pride of place owing to their superior goal average, their three games having produced ten goals and none against. Second in the table come Barclays Bank with 12 goals to 2, and, they in turn are followed by Secretariat with 11 goals to 7. At this premature stage in the League activities it would be dangerous to predict the prospective champion, and as the three teams at the top have not met the same opponents, a comparison of form would be misleading, but there is little doubt that the Bankers and Police will go a long way towards making the running. Last season’s champions, Post Office, have started poorly, their two encounters having produced but a solitary point. They were beaten on Thursday by the combined Health-Law Courts side, a team that will shake up several of the championship aspirants before long. "[4]
    In one of its news PP reported about a meeting between the Palestine Potash and Electric company that the Potash was too strong for the Electric "combine", winning by two goals to nil after having put up a two to nil lead the interval. [5]
    The season of 1942 - 1943 of the Jerusalem Departments and Companies League was  confined to one division, the following teams took part:

   Secretariat Post Office, Palestine Potash, Shell Company, Barclay’s Bank, Controllers, Jewish Settlement Police, Temporary Additional Police, Law-Health-District, Administration-Municipality Combine. It is probable that the Post Office and Police will amalgamate. The League games will be played in one round, while the question of one round, while the question of a special "goal average" League is under consideration for later in the season. The "Speed" knockout played after the League fixtures have been completed. The new Committee will consist of: W. Brady (Chairman), L. Keshishian (Secretary), M. Battato (Asst. Secretary), V. Krikorian (Treasurer) and A. Major (Member). [6] 

  The Arab newspaper Filastin brought news about governmental teams,  and meetings between Arab clubs and governmental teams:
The second team of the Islamic Sports Club in Jaffa met with the team of Lod train station,  the latter was defeated 0 to 7. [7] A match between the municipality team and the Potas Company was held at the YMCA field, the municipality team won 3 to 1. [8] Filastin stopped publishing news about departmental and companies teams from 1932 until 1940. Under the title (Governmental departments' Sports Committee) Filastin reported: The Governmental departments' Sports Committee had a tea party at 6:30 p.m. at the YMCA hall. It was attended by his honor Mustafa al-Khalidi and other official dignitaries. The number of the attendees were about 150. [9]

    Filastin also reported: "We were informed that the employees of the Lod Airport established a club and formed a football team that included great players such as Abdul Ghani al-Habbab (Palestine's goal keeper and a member of Islamic Sports Club). This club will meet with many Arab teams in Palestine. "[10]


[1]This is a part from an article (Football in Palestine: World’s Football) appeared in the official Bulletin of the Federation Internationale De Football Association, 1931 28th January. It was written by Joseph Yekutieli (The President of the Maccabi Sport Federation) and Percy C. Speed.
[2] Palestine Football Prospects 1932-33. Palestine Bulletin, 26 October 1932.
[3] Palestine Football Prospects 1932-33. Palestine Bulletin, 26 October 1932.
[4]Palestine Post, 18 November 1940.
[5]Palestine Post, 20 February 1941.
[6]Palestine Post, 23 October 1942.
[7] Filastin, 24 December 1931.
[8] Filastin, April 1940.
[9] Filastin 13 December 1940
[10] Filastin

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