THERE is more than one way to skin a cat and the same can be said about how to remove Peter Butler from his job as Terengganu coach.
First, have the Terengganu FA disciplinary committee find him guilty of something and slap him with a six-month suspension and then, issue a termination letter because being suspended for one month or more is a breach of contract, said a source.
According to the source, that is the most cost-efficient way to sack the coach as the 46-year-old Englishman, who took over as head coach from Mat Zan Mat Aris in June, still has about 15 months left on his contract.
"Butler's case is not that different from Mat Zan's who was forced to leave the team then but the latter was given a leave-of-absence instead of suspension.
"But in Mat Zan's case, he was accused of not turning up for work when his leave ended and was given a termination letter although at that time, Butler was already appointed to coach the team," the source said.
Butler should have received the official notification of his suspension yesterday although the announcement of his six-month suspension, a RM4,000 fine and a 15 per cent cut in salary, was made by FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh on Monday.
His big offence was speaking to the media without the management's authorisation about defender Muslim Ahmad and midfielder Ismail Faruqi Asha'ri returning late to their hotel rooms in Alor Star on the morning before the away match against Kedah last month.
The coach also said he had information that the two players had been seen with women at the hotel upon their return in the wee hours of the morning.
For that, the disciplinary committee found him guilty and slapped him with a six-month suspension and a fine of RM4,000.
In the home match, also against Kedah four days letter, Butler was found guilty of improper conduct when he scolded and pushed goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli in full view of the spectators, and the disciplinary committee, headed by Ahmad Shukri Zakaria, found it fit to cut the coach's next pay cheque by 15 per cent.
But the source said, that was all for show as the real intention was to give Butler the boot without having to pay too much compensation.
"Of course the players were punished too with Muslim and Ismail receiving stern warnings and a RM1,000 fine each while Sharbinee, who pleaded guilty to throwing a water bottle at his coach, was fined RM1,000 in addition to receiving a similar stern warning.
"What is important for the powers that be in the association now is that Butler will have his termination letter in his hands soon enough and they will expect him to leave quietly with minimum compensation possible," he said.
Meanwhile, when contacted yesterday, Butler said he had already received the letter.
"I will not be able to talk about it yet as I need to discuss the contents of the letter with my lawyer but suffice to say, in all my years as a professional football player and coach, I have never seen anything like this," he said. By Zainuddin Muhammad