F.C. Ironi Ashdod (Hebrew: מועדון ספורט עירוני אשדוד, Moadon Sport Ironi Ashdod, lit. Ironi Ashdod Sport Club or in short Hebrew: מ.ס.ע. אשדוד, Mem Samekh Ironi Ashdod, lit. F.C.I. Ashdod) is an Israeli football club, playing in the port city of Ashdod. The unorthodox name of the team (no association, i.e. Hapoel, Maccabi, Beitar etc.) is the result of the union of two city rivals, Hapoel Ashdod and Maccabi Ironi Ashdod.
During the club's first years, its kit colors were completely blue. When Haim Revivo took a more prominent role in the club, the colors were changed to red and yellow (which was also noted by skeptics of being Revivo's colors during his time at Galatasaray in Turkey). The decision was made that the kit should incorporate two of the previous clubs' colors, Hapoel having been red and Maccabi yellow and blue.
The club was not immediately successful after the merger, and fan support was lacking. During the 2004–05 season, they reached their greatest achievement, a third-place finish in the Israeli Premier League and a berth in the UEFA Cup. The club also reached the final of the Toto Cup, only to go out on penalty kicks. Their first time in a continental competition was not a memorable one, as they went out to the Slovenian PrvaLiga runners-up, NK Domžale.
Prior to the 2014–15 season, the club added Ironi to its name. However, following a dispute with fans of the previous club, Maccabi Ironi Ashdod, during the 2-3 defeat against Maccabi Netanya in the last match of the regular season, the club's chairman, Jacky Ben-Zaken, decided to rename the club to Hapoel Ashdod and to play in red shirts. Despite warnings from the Israel Football Association, which informed the club that such changes during season are illegal, Ashdod did show up for their next match, which opened the Bottom playoff, against Hapoel Ra'anana in red shirts, with the caption "F.C. Hapoel Ashdod", and was eventually disciplined. Furthermore, the club was punished by FIFA with six points deduction for failing to pay an arbitration award to Nigerian club, Kaduna United, for the transfer of Efe Ambrose in 2010. As a result, the club has been dropped to the bottom place in the Israeli Premier League. However, in an exceptional decision, FIFA reversed its decision after it was found out that the club did pay the arbitration award. At the end of the season, the club finished at the bottom of the league, after failing to register a win during their last 15 matches, and for the first time in their history as a merged club, were relegated to the second tier, Liga Leumit, following a defeat of 0-1 against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
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