Saturday, 25 February 2012

Kelantan FA suspend coach Peter Butler for three weeks

The relationship between Peter Butler and Kelantan FA has reached near breaking-point after the coach was suspended for three weeks following his outburst over the management's interference in the hiring of foreign players.

Butler is at odds with FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa after criticising his employer following Kelantan's 2-1 defeat to Selangor on Feb 14 for de-registering Lebanese striker Mohammed Ghadar  and signing Nigerian forward Onyekachi Nwoha without the Englishman's input.

Butler and the FA appeared to have resolved the issue in talks before Kelantan's FA Cup win over Sarawak in Kota Baru last week only for the FA to act against the former West Ham United midfielder.

"I've been handed a letter saying I've been suspended for three weeks beginning yesterday (Thursday). I can't comment any more on it," said Butler when reached in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

When asked if he was planning to resign, Butler said: "No, not all. I have 19 months left on my contract. But I will be seeking legal advice."

This is Butler's second stint with Kelantan having left abruptly on the eve of the 2009 Malaysia Cup campaign after steering Kelantan to the FA Cup final that year.

Kelantan, who currently lead the Super League standings by two points from Perak after eight matches, open their AFC Cup campaign against Navibank Saigon in Bukit Jalil on Mar 7 and face Kuala Lumpur in the second round of the FA Cup three days later.

Kelantan FA has been less than impressed with Butler's four foreign signings this season and acted to replace Ghaddar and Ghanaian Dennis Antwi with Nwoha and fellow Nigerian Obinna Nwaneri while farming Lebanon's Zakaria Charara and Emmanuel Okine of Ghana on loan to KL.

Annuar took to Facebook to express his displeasure with the situation, without directly referencing Butler.

"Team officials who have been treated professionally must themselves act professionally. Match and team reports must be prepared, friendly schedule arranged for the whole season.
Don't give the media one report and to the management another. Must look after the harmony of the team and not have favourites and blacklist players," wrote Annuar yesterday.

Reports yesterday also quoted Kelantan team manager Azman Ibrahim as saying: "He has been rested while we work out several issues including his dissatisfaction with the management.

"We will take everything into consideration before making any decisions and we hope the team's performance will not be affected at this time."

Former UPB-MyTeam handler Bojan Hodak was this week hired by Kelantan to run their academy and the Croat could take charge of the team in Butler's absence.

In the meantime, assistant coach Sidek Samsuddin is supervising training ahead of Kelantan's next Super League match against Negri Sembilan on Mar 4.

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