Indian Super League coach sacked over ‘unacceptable’ rape comments

New Delhi (AFP) – Former South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has been sacked as the manager of Indian Super League’s Odisha FC for “unacceptable” comments about rape during a post-match interview, the club said.

On Monday, after his side lost 1-0 to Jamshedpur, the English manager and former player said in a complaint against referees: “I think one of my players would have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty.”

Odisha said shortly after that it “unreservedly” apologised for the 67-year-old’s remarks, before tweeting Tuesday that Baxter had been sacked.

“Odisha FC has decided to terminate Head Coach, Stuart Baxter’s contract with immediate effect,” the club tweeted.

“The interim coach for the remainder of the season will be announced soon.”

Club owner Rohan Sharma added Monday on Twitter that he was “absolutely disgusted and infuriated by the comments”.

“I’ve said Odisha FC is a safe space for all, and to make light of a serious awful crime in such an offhanded way is reprehensible. I sincerely apologize to everyone on my behalf and the clubs,” he added.

Baxter coached South Africa from 2004-05 and again in 2017-19, and joined Odisha in the middle of last year. He also coached Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United during his time in South Africa.

An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day in 2019, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

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