Chechen football dumps Ruud Gullit after he falls foul of locals
The bizarre sojourn of Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit in Chechnya ended last night as he was unceremoniously sacked as manager of the region's leading football team, Terek Grozny.
The club, run by Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov, had previously released a long-winded statement laying into Gullit's personality, tactics and attitude, and said the Dutchman would be sacked if Terek did not win their upcoming match. Last night's game ended with defeat for the Chechen side, and minutes after the final whistle Terek confirmed Gullit had been fired.
The original ultimatum from Terek read like a Stalinist denunciation of Gullit, accusing the former Chelsea and Newcastle manager of lying to the Press and slandering the name of Chechnya. It also said that Terek's results since he became manager had been unacceptable, with the club languishing near the bottom of Russia's Premier League. Gullit was appointed to the job in January, and admitted that part of the motivation for taking the job was the excellent money.
Mr Kadyrov, a former insurgent who has been implicated in a number of torture cases and murder inquiries, is Terek's president and its biggest fan, often showing up at training and exhorting players to perform better.
What really seems to have angered the Chechens, however, was a throwaway remark from Gullit that he had not invited friends from home to visit him in Chechnya because of a lack of nightlife and available alcohol. “I miss my friends,” he said in the interview. “They have visited me everywhere but why would they come here? You can't have a drink and you can't communicate with anyone.”