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Pini Gershon and Sharon Drucker have not been getting along for quite some time, but even before this season the Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach asked his bosses not to allow Drucker to serve as his assistant, club officials told Haaretz.

Relations deteriorated this season, climaxing with the two exchanging blame for how the team was put together and game plans that were never carried out or fizzled. Gershon ignored Drucker three months ago while making plans for next season.

Gershon also told Maccabi officials he would not reveal his plans to Drucker, laying at his assistant's feet responsibility for poor player selection. He also accused Drucker of undermining his work, an official said.

Gershon and Drucker have exchanged few words of late, which showed in games. "The poor relations were reflected in practices and games, so we weren't surprised by the problems that arose during the quarterfinal series against Bnei Hasharon or losing the championship," said another Maccabi official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

A Maccabi Tel Aviv spokesman on Tuesday denied that Gershon ever made such a demand to keep Drucker down. "This is all made up," the spokesman said. "There was never a demand presented for Sharon Drucker's firing during this season." Drucker declined to comment, and Gershon could not immediately be reached.

Citizen Fischer

Maccabi center D'Or Fischer, who is expected to marry his Israeli girlfriend, will probably apply for Israeli citizenship soon, say associates. They add that Maccabi is interested in keeping him on the team and are in negotiations to that end.