Football Star Ruud Gullit Dumped by Chechen Club

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Two-time former world football player of the year Ruud Gullit has been fired by the club he coached in Chechnya, after another embarrassing loss dropped Terek Grozny's record to three wins against 13 losses in the Russian Premier League.

Club president Ramzan Kadyrov, who is also Chechnya's controversial political leader, had set an ultimatum for Gullit: win Tuesday's match against Amkar Perm, one of the league's weakest teams, or face dismissal.

Terek Grozny fell to Amkar Perm, 1-0, after a Terek player kicked the ball into his own goal in the dying seconds of the match.

Terek now sits in 14th place in the 16-team league. Gullit said afterwards he expected to lose the job whether he won or lost.

President Kadyrov, a former rebel whose father was assassinated seven years ago, had previously denounced Gullit on his government website, declaring the coach failed to accord the proper respect to Chechen Muslims. He also accused the 48-year-old Dutch superstar of leading a playboy's lifestyle, supposedly “hiding in nightclubs and discos” instead of working with his players.

Mr. Kadyrov has faced repeated denunciations himself during his four years in power for alleged corruption and brutality. His extraordinary Internet statement about Gullit attracted wide attention, but some football fans recalled that Gullit was known for his flamboyant lifestyle during earlier coaching jobs, with Chelsea and other clubs.

Gullit captained the Netherlands national team that won the European championship in 1988, and played in the 1990 World Cup. He was Europe's Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.