Maccabi Tel Aviv parted with one of its icons on Sunday after vice chairman and team manager Moni Fanan announced that he will be leaving the club after 16 years. Fanan, who started as a fan before joining the club's staff in 1992, was unhappy with his diminishing influence over happening at Maccabi in recent years and, after threatening to leave in the past, finally did so in a press conference at the Nokia Arena on Sunday. "The style of work at Maccabi in recent years didn't suit me and therefore the differences between myself and the other board members have continually grown," said an emotional Fanan, who also has an ownership stake at the club. "I mulled over this decision before coming to the conclusion that our differences can't be bridged. I have, therefore, come to a heavy hearted decision to leave." Former Maccabi captain Gur Shelef will replace Fanan. "I've got big shoes to fill," said Shelef, who won three Euroleague titles and seven Israeli championships and State Cups as a player at Tel Aviv. "Moni has given me his blessing and I hope I can contribute to Maccabi just as much as he did." Fanan's importance to the club and its players, to which he often referred to as his children, was clearly evident on Sunday, with many former and current players attending the press conference, including Nikola Vujcic, who flew in from Croatia to be at the Nokia Arena. "Moni will always be my friend," Vujcic said. "I came to see Maccabi's most important player leave. "He's the soul of the team. You can always buy a better player, but you can't replace someone like Fanan. When you see someone work for you 24 hours a day you can't help but appreciate and respect it." Club chairman Shimon Mizrahi said that Fanan's departure is one of the saddest moments of his life. "This is a very difficult day for the club," said Mizrahi, who gave Fanan his first job at Maccabi. "I hope that we can fill the void Fanan leaves with the same spirit and loyalty he brought to the club." Maccabi also announced on Sunday that it will be setting up a scouting department to be led by former Tel Aviv assistant coach Danny Gutt. "I'm happy to be back home," said Gutt. "It's a big challenge for me to be one of the people in charge of the way the team will look in the coming seasons. "We are building a new department, similar to the ones the leading clubs in the world have, which will search for players for Maccabi both for the short and the long term."