Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Coach Butler denounces ‘barbaric’ firing in Malaysia

AFP, KUALA LUMPUR

Former English Premier League player Peter Butler has called his dismissal as coach of Terengganu in Malaysia “barbaric” and has lodged an appeal, a media report said yesterday.

The outspoken Butler’s tenure at the club has looked finished after he accused his goalie of match-fixing over a howler attempt at a goal clearance that put the ball in the net, and accused two other players of ill-discipline.

Butler’s contract was terminated following his suspension for six months for claiming that two players brought female guests to their hotel rooms after a curfew.

However, Butler, a former West Ham United midfielder, has appealed, saying his punishment sets “a dangerous precedent not only for football, but socially as well.”

“The accusations leveled against me are barbaric, outrageous and unacceptable,” he was quoted as saying by the Star daily. “I did my job professionally and I tried my best to instil discipline ... I refuse to be ridiculed and humiliated for doing the right thing ... absolutely not.”

Butler could not be reached immediately for comment.

Butler was plunged into further controversy after Terengganu keeper Sharbinee Allawee appeared to swat a high ball into his own net during a 1-1 draw with Kedah in a Malaysia Cup match on Sept. 1.

After the incident, Butler pulled Sharbinee from the game, berating the goalie and angrily shoving him off the pitch. He later publicly accused him of match-fixing.

Sharbinee was subsequently cleared of match-fixing allegations following an investigation and after passing a lie-detector test, Malaysian anti-corruption authorities have said.

Abdullah Salleh, secretary of the soccer association of Terengganu state, said officials would meet on Thursday to discuss Butler’s appeal. He declined further comment.

Allegations of match-fixing have long tainted soccer in the Southeast Asian nation.

Earlier this year, the country’s soccer association suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches.

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