Israel Soccer violence
Violence at match between Hapoel Ramat gan and Bnei LOD.

Violence involving players, fans and coaches over the past several weeks has cast a shadow on the future of professional soccer in Israel.

The escalation of recent on-field brawls has even led to the possibility of creating an independent body, away from the Israel Football Association, to conduct the professional leagues.

A crucial meeting of all the 16 Premier League heads is expected to take place at Kfar Maccabiah on Sunday to discuss the future running of professional soccer in the country.

The frequent clashes have led to police investigations, punishments and the postponement of a number of domestic matches which have even attracted the attention of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu asked the sports minister to take steps to end the violence on the field.

"We must defeat violence on football pitches. We cannot see such kicking and fisticuffs. We want to see football. If there is violence, there will not be football. Therefore, this violence must be uprooted in order to return the game that Israelis, myself included, love very much," Netanyahu told the cabinet in the past week.

The violence reached a new level on 5 March when Hapoel fans hurled flag poles and garbage at players during a match between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Salim Toama and Avihai Yadin who were sent back, also added fuel to the fire by arguing with the referee. Hapoel suffered the first loss in four years in the game.

In another incident, fans of the Beitar Jerusalem, known for its anti-Arab vibes, were filmed involving themselves in a rampage in a mall following the victory of their team, which led to the arrest and ban of several fans from stadiums.

In an incident involving players and coaches, a Haifa player ended up in a hospital after being headbutted by a Maccabi Petah Tikva coach.

"The violence at stadiums has reached levels that require a different approach than has previously been employed. The field has become a battleground, involving not only fans but also players, coaches, officials ... it is impossible to stay silent," Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat told a press conference.

It was a free-for-all on 20 April, when players and coaches from Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod punched and kicked which was telecast live on television. The incident led to the cancellation of all weekend games by the Israeli Football Association.

Take a look at the mayhem at the stadium here.

"The first thing to do is significantly increase the punishments. I have been talking about this for more than 20 years, and that was a time football was much more violent," the Associated Press quoted Maccabi Haifa Chairman Jacob Shahar as saying.