Wednesday, July 29, 2015


End Of The Road For Green Fingered Coaches?

The last couple of years has seen a spate of coaches being given 'gardening leave' by clubs. This extra time allocated to pottering around the shrubbery usually follows a poor sequence of results and is not to be construed as some CSR commitment by charitably minded football clubs.

As a fully qualified football coach there can surely be nothing worse than a limbo land where you leave your whistle, stopwatch, bibs and cones in the garden shed and pick up the shears and trowel in the full knowledge the team you spent months, or even weeks, preparing are off being courted by another man with his own whistle and stopwatch.

Among the big names it has happened to in recent times are George Boateng at Kelantan, Sathianathan at ATM and, just to prove cuckolded coaches ain't a purely Malaysian thing, Gary Stevens at Army United.

Being a sensitive soul at heart I have yet to ask a coach how they see this extra time working on their marrows but as an outsider looking in it does appear to be the sack...without the pay off.

Now, any coach will tell you the sack, and not the one used for gathering up the leaves, is part and parcel of their job along with win bonuses and that ego centric centre forward who can't score on the pitch but has tattooed the names of his other conquests in Hindi on the back of his neck.

But gardening leave stinks, not just of compost and apple peel, of the sack via the back door. What the club is hoping for is the coach will tire of watering his azaleas everyday and hand in his notice therefore freeing the club from that messy 'obligation' of paying off his contract.

Anyway it appears a ruling by the Football Association of Malaysia could well put an end to the practise.

PETALING JAYA: Coach B. Sathianathan believes that “justice has been served”.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have declared the “rest” status issued by his employers, the Armed Forces, to be “null and void”.

And Sathianathan hailed FAM’s ruling on Monday as “the right moral judgement.”

FAM player status committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan explained that Armed Forces did not follow the right procedures and added that to “rest” Sathianathan from his duties was a vague decision. 

“The decision by Armed Forces to ‘rest’ Sathianathan has been ruled as void,” said Takiyuddin on Tuesday. 

“Sathianathan must now return to his former position as head coach of Armed Forces and he is entitled to all the allowances and benefits stated in the contract.”

Armed Forces have 14 days to appeal against the decision.

Takiyuddin said that a coach’s contract can only be terminated if he did not meet the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) stipulated in the contract. 

Armed Forces, he added, failed to follow that procedure. 

Sathianathan was ordered to “rest” on April 14 – two days after his team lost 3-1 to Selangor in the Super League. At that time, they only won one game out of seven and were in 11th spot in the 12-team standings with four points. 

Sathianathan, who is also the Football Coaches Association of Malaysia (FCAM) president, is relieved to be vindicated and hopes that FAM’s decision will serve as a lesson to others teams.

“The important thing is that teams cannot simply ‘rest’ coaches without a valid reason,” he said.

“I’m happy because morally the right decision has been made. If they (Armed Forces) are not happy with my performance, they should have just terminated my services. They (Armed Forces) said they have yet to receive a letter from FAM. I can’t do anything now. It’s now up to them.”

Whether this decision will act as a precedent remains to be seen. Sathianathan at least can return to work, not that ATM have received a letter yet (what is it with clubs in this region who refuse to take any action that may affect them negatively until they receive a letter. A letter? Don't these people have email?).

As one coach can at least pick up his little magnetic board and return to the training field once more, an interesting experience that will be, what about the garden I hear you cry?

Sod it!

Ditto Steve Darby Kelantan @2014...
Ditto Steve Darby Kelantan @2014...
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