The Kelantan football crisis plunged to new depths after the state FA told coach Peter Butler (pic) to take a break for openly criticising the management recently on the issue of hiring foreign players.
The Super League leaders trained at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium yesterday without their maverick coach, who is believed to be in Kuala Lumpur, fuelling speculation that the Englishman’s days with Kelantan are numbered.
Kelantan FA (Kafa) secretary-general and team manager Azman Ibrahim said Butler was told to take an indefinite break to allow the 46-year-old to prepare an official explanation for his remarks.
This is Butler’s second stint with the east coast side. The Englishman was with Kelantan during the 2008-2009 season but left the team in the lurch two weeks before the Malaysia Cup kicked off in 2009, despite having two more months remaining in his contract.
Kelantan face a crunch tie against Negri Sembilan in the Super League on March 4 in Kota Baru. They will also be making their debut in the AFC Cup, playing Navibank of Saigon in Kota Baru on March 7.
“Butler has not been suspended or sacked. He has just been given a short break from his duties as head coach. He will still be paid his wages and benefits,” said Azman yesterday. “The decision was over the remarks he made against Kafa. The management feels that it would be better to give him a chance to explain to us what exactly he is not satisfied about.
“It is not that Kafa cannot accept criticism. We want him to explain to us personally. This issue will never be settled if he only speaks to the media.”
Assistant coaches Zahasmi Ismail and Sidek Shamsudin will take over Butler’s duties in his absence. Butler had hit out at the team management for not being given any say in the signing of foreign players or team selection.