Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oscar Garcia on Monday quit his post, with the club saying Tuesday it was because of the ''current security situation'' in Israel. Garcia's resignation comes two days before the second leg of Maccabi's Europa League playoff against Greek club Asteras Tripolis, scheduled to be played in Cyprus.
Israel is in the eighth week of a military campaign in the Gaza Strip in which hundreds of rockets have been fired by Islamic militants at the country, including several reaching Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Israeli sports have been significantly affected by the Gaza war. The domestic soccer season, due to kick off last weekend, was postponed, and the upcoming European Championship qualifier against Belgium, which was scheduled to be played in Jerusalem on Sept. 9, will either be played in another country or postponed.
"You cannot do as if there is nothing happening,'' Maccabi GM Jordi Cruyff, himself a former Barcelona midfielder and the son of Netherlands great Johan Cruyff, said recently. ''Games are being canceled, the national team has to play abroad, all Israeli teams have had to play outside Israel."