New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) club Odisha FC on Tuesday sacked their coach Stuart Baxter after he used an offensive analogy about rape while talking about referees not giving his team penalties.
“Odisha FC has decided to terminate Head Coach, Stuart Baxter’s contract with immediate effect. The interim coach for the remainder of the season will be announced soon,” the club said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Odisha had previously apologised shortly after Baxter made the comments in a post-match interview on Star Sports.
“You need decisions to go your way and they didn’t,” Baxter, 67, said after his team’s 1-0 defeat to Jamshedpur FC on Monday. “I don’t know when we’re going to get a penalty. I think one of my players would have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty.”
Shortly thereafter, the club tweeted an apology before announcing the sacking on Tuesday. “The club is appalled at the comments made by head coach, Stuart Baxter during the post-match interview today. It is completely unacceptable whatever the context and does not reflect the values of the club. We, at Odisha FC, unreservedly apologize and the club management will handle this matter internally,” the club said.
Club owner Rohan Sharma confirmed in a tweet of his own that Baxter’s comments were the sole reason for the sacking and not the team’s current form. Odisha are currently last on the league table having managed to record just one win in 14 matches. “…I can personally say the sacking was only related to the vile post match comments. The form of the team didn’t factor into this decision,” said Sharma.
Baxter previously managed clubs in several European countries and Japan apart from being coach of the England under-19 team between 2002 and 2004. He was head coach of the South African national team in his last spell before taking over at Odisha at the start of the 2020-21 season.