Gullit flies home after Chechen 'adventure'
Former Chelsea and Newcastle United coach says CV has been damaged by time with Grozny as he is sacked after 1-0 defeat.
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2011 13:28
Gullit was not shy about admitting that he was well-rewarded for managing the Chechen side [GALLO/GETTY]

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit was returning home on Wednesday after his "adventure" as manager of a top Chechnya club came to a dramatic end, amid humiliating defeat and accusations of a playboy lifestyle.

Terek Grozny offered Gullit the paltry consolation of coaching their youth side after he was sacked as manager following a 1-0 defeat with a 90th-minute goal against Urals minnows Perm in the Russian Premier League.

The sacking was personally ordered by Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel turned Kremlin loyalist and strict Muslim, who had rebuked Gullit for showing too much interest in nightclubs and drinking.

"Some people don't like that we have no discotheques, bars and drunkenness. They have all that in Kislovodsk"

Ramzan Kadyrov

Kadyrov, who keeps a private zoo of wild cats and personally takes part in operations to eliminate Islamic fighters, had issued Gullit with an ultimatum to either win the match or be sacked immediately.

Looking resigned to his fate, Gullit said in his televised post-match news conference that he had "already said goodbye to the team before the match as I knew I would be fired even if we won".

Terek midfielder Andrei Kobenko declined to give his views on Gullit's sacking but expressed sympathy for the manager, whom he described as a "good and decent person who understood everyone".

Chechnya Sports Minister Haidar Alkhanov told the Sovietsky Sport daily that Gullit would now be offered "work with the youth team".

But Gullit showed no interest in taking up the offer.

Asked about Gullit's severance package, Alkhanov said: "We are going to discuss all these questions. Don't worry about Gullit's finances. We always behave decently in such situations."

Time to relax

Gullit himself made clear he had no intention of staying with Grozny to coach Chechen youths, quoted in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as saying he was "so tired that now I just want to relax".

He added: "Obviously this was not good for my CV.

"But on the other hand it has been an adventure."

In comments to Russian television overnight Kadyrov again lashed out at Gullit's apparent discomfort with Chechnya's Islamic customs, saying that "some people don't like that we have no discotheques, bars and drunkenness".

"They have all that in Kislovodsk," he added tartly, referring to the Russian spa resort north of Chechnya where Gullit and his team were based for most of the year instead of Grozny.

In a more amicable televised meeting on Wednesday, Kadyrov personally thanked Gullit for his contribution and said he had done a lot to help the club.

"We parted as friends. We agreed to stay in touch. We'd be happy to see him again," Kadyrov said afterwards.

Alkhanov told the RIA Novosti news agency that Gullit had now already flown to Switzerland.

Sexy football

The 48-year-old, famed for his love of "sexy football" and a two-time World Footballer of the Year, had stunned observers by accepting an invitation to coach Terek from Kadyrov.

Rights groups, who have accused Kadyrov of keeping a private militia to harass, torture and even kill opponents, expressed dismay that Gullit had accepted the appointment.

But the former Dutch master insisted that politics and football should not mix, while openly admitting that a generous salary – which was never disclosed – was part of the attraction.

"The money is good, I am not going to lie," he told the Daily Mail in a previous interview.

"I am here for that and the adventure."

Terek now sit 14th in the 16-team Russian Premier League with three wins from 13 matches.

The Kremlin fought two wars in Chechnya after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The capital has been rebuilt and security partly restored under Kadyrov, but at a cost that many rights activists say has been too great.

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