Hapoel Nazareth Illit F.C.
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|Full name||Hapoel Nazareth Illit Football Club|
|Ground||Green Stadium, Nazareth Illit|
|Owner||Nazareth Illit Municipality|
|2016–17||Liga Leumit, 14th|
Hapoel Nazareth Illit Football Club (Hebrew: מועדון כדורגל הפועל נצרת עילית, Moadon Kaduregel Hapoel Natzrat Illit) is an Israeli football club based in the city of Nazareth Illit. The club currently plays in Liga Leumit.
The club was founded in 1962 as Hapoel Kiryat Nazareth and competed in Liga Gimel for several seasons, before promoting to Liga Bet at the end of the 1971–72 season. The club changed its name in 1973 after Kiryat Nazareth gained city status and was renamed Nazareth Illit.
The club won 1975–76 Liga Bet, but, due to the league system restructuring, the club remained in the league system's third tier, which became Liga Alef. In 1978–79 the club won Liga Alef North division and was promoted to Liga Artzit, then the second tier. In 1983–84 they finished second from bottom, and were relegated to Liga Alef. Two seasons later the club finished second from bottom in Liga Alef and dropped to Liga Bet.
In 1998–99 the club finished as runners-up in Liga Alef North, and was promoted back to Liga Artzit, which was now the third tier following the formation of the Israeli Premier League in 1999. After narrowly avoiding relegation in 2000–01 when they finished one place above the relegation zone, the club finished as runners-up the following season, and were promoted back to the second tier. In 2003–04 they finished as runners-up (on goal difference), and were promoted to the top division for the first time in their history.
In their first season in the Premier League the club finished fifth. Home matches were initially played at Maccabi Ahi Nazareth's Ilut Stadium, whilst their home ground had floodlights installed. They returned home in February 2005. However, the following season, 2005–06, they finished second from bottom (on goal difference), and returned to Liga Leumit. In 2007–08 they finished bottom of Liga Leumit, and were relegated to Liga Artzit.
Despite only finishing seventh in Liga Artzit in 2008–09, F.C. Nazareth Illit were promoted back to Liga Leumit as restructuring meant the top seven clubs were automatically promoted. Since then, Nazareth Illit hasn't been relegated for 3 consecutive seasons, finishing seventh in 2009–10, 11th in 2010–11 and twelfth in 2011–12.
In the 2012–13 season the club signed several new players, including Ibrahim Basit, Eran Malchin and Moti Malka; they finished second in the league, but lost 3–1 at home in a crucial match against Hapoel Ra'anana in the play-offs, with Ra'anana eventually promoted to the Israeli Premier League, whilst Nazareth Illit finished third and remained in Liga Leumit.
As of 19 January 2018.
|Third tier||2||1975–76, 1978–79|
|Liga Bet North A Division Cup||1||1986–87|
- Three on top: 3–1 for Ra'anana over Nazareth Illit Best Ball, 26.4.2013 (in Hebrew)
- A Victory to Nazareth Illit over Bnei Nazareth in the City Derby Ma'ariv, 28 December 1986, Historical Jewish Press (in Hebrew)
- Hapoel Nazareth Illit Israel Football Association (in Hebrew)