Indian Super League: Odisha president says sacking Stuart Baxter was 'the only course of action'

Indian Super League club Odisha FC sacked Stuart Baxter after Englishman's controversial remarks; Club president Raj Athwal tells Sky Sports News: "The comments were totally unacceptable. We are a very inclusive football club and we had to take decisive and immediate action."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Odisha FC president Raj Athwal tells Sky Sports News former head coach Stuart Baxter's comments are "not in keeping with our values and our philosophy" and says the club had to act decisively

The president of Indian Super League (ISL) side Odisha FC has told Sky Sports News the club had to take decisive action and sack Stuart Baxter after the Englishman used an offensive analogy about rape to criticise a refereeing decision.

Baxter, 67, sparked outrage after his post-match interview after Monday's 1-0 loss to Jamshedpur when he said "one of my players would have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty".

The club issued a swift condemnation of their head coach's comments and announced they had terminated Baxter's contract with immediate effect early the following day.

"Look, it has been a very difficult 48 hours," Athwal told Sky Sports News.

"The comments were totally unacceptable, irrespective of whether it is football or any other industry.

"It's very important in today's climate that we set a good example, the right example, and the comments were certainly not in keeping with our values and our philosophy.

AP
Image: Stuart Baxter managed Finland and had two spells as South Africa boss

"We are a very inclusive football club and as a result we had to take decisive and immediate action."

Also See:

Sky Sports News broke the story that Athwal - one of the country's most experienced British South Asian football executives - had joined Odisha as president, becoming the first British Indian to take up such a role since the inception of the ISL.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

After 25 years in British football, Raj Athwal tells Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan why becoming president of Indian Super League club Odisha FC was too good an opportunity to turn down

Less than a month into his tenure, Athwal finds himself managing a crisis not of his own making. The former Watford commercial director says he has never faced a situation quite like this one during his career.

"In 26 years of working in football, I've never had to deal with a situation such as this," he said.

"I've worked in all of the English leagues most of the Scottish leagues and I'm no stranger to making difficult decisions, which is why I was brought into Odisha Football Club.

"We will not shy away from our responsibilities and we feel under the circumstances, we feel we have taken the right, appropriate and only course of action."

Win £250,000 on Tuesday!

Win £250,000 on Tuesday!

Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 in Tuesday's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 6:00pm.

Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 in Saturday's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 3:00pm.

Around Sky