Sun, Jul 30, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Greenland ex-coach says ‘racism’ behind decision to fire him

AFP, STOCKHOLM

Tekle Ghebrelul, who was Greenland’s national soccer coach, said his firing was “unjustified” and had “racist motives,” local media reported on Friday.

Tekle Ghebrelul has been accused of assaulting a minor, which he denies and calls “a pretext” to fire him to silence his criticism of “hostility” against him in the North Atlantic autonomous Danish territory, which he moved to 14 years ago from Eritrea, the Sermitsiaq daily reported.

“Tekle Ghebrelul is shocked by the firing and incredibly disappointed that he has not had the opportunity to explain the many racism” incidents he went through, the paper said.

Football Federation of Greenland (GBU) president John Thorsen on Thursday said that Ghebrelul was fired because a majority of the board was “tired of all the trouble surrounding the national coach,” Sermitsiaq said.

“I’m told I’ve beaten or shaken a child, but where are the children’s parents? I have never received any concrete questions from the parents,” Ghebrelul told Sermitsiaq. “I’m shocked that [they have] fired me on those grounds without first hearing my version of the accusations against me.”

Ghebrelul, who also coached the Nuuk B-67 club, was racially abused by spectators during the semi-finals of the Futsal National Championship, public television KNR reported.

A message was circulated on Snapchat last month portraying Ghebrelul as a monkey eating a banana.

A player from a competing team who created that message was immediately axed by the federation.

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