A SLAP in the face for Peter Butler, a slap on the wrist for three of his players!
The Terengganu coach has been suspended by Terengganu FA for six months beginning today and also fined RM4,000 in addition to having his salary cut by 15 per cent for one month.
Defender Muslim Ahmad and midfielder Ismail Faruqi Asha'ri, who admitted to breaking curfew by returning late to their hotel rooms in Alor Star before the match against Kedah last month, were fined RM1,000 each and given a stern warning.
Goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli, who faced the disciplinary committee for throwing a water bottle at Butler after being substituted in the home match against Kedah early this month, also received a stern warning, a RM1,000 fine and his salary cut by 10 per cent for one month.
Terengganu FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh told a press conference after chairing the association's council meeting yesterday, the issue of girls seen near Muslim's and Ismail's rooms was not taken into consideration.
"We have no proof that the two players had brought girls into their hotel rooms in Alor Star but both of them pleaded guilty to returning late that night," said Che Mat.
"They also denied being with some girls on the night in question and personally speaking, I tend to believe them as I have known them for a long time."
Che Mat said the recommendations for punishment were made in the disciplinary committee meeting held three days earlier, and all the recommendations had been approved in the council meeting.
Another player who will have to take a one-month 10 per cent pay cut is Francis Doe, who was red-carded in the home match against Kedah on Sept 1.
"Doe had already faced the FAM's disciplinary committee and was fined RM2,000 and slapped with a four-match suspension.
"Our disciplinary committee also found him guilty of intentionally elbowing a Kedah player and a pay-cut was recommended and we agreed with the decision," he said.
Disciplinary committee chairman Ahmad Shukri Zakaria, who was present at the council meeting, said Butler was wrong to speak to the press without authorisation from the management.
He said the coach should have approached the management first before speaking to reporters about the incident in Alor Star involving Ismail and Muslim.
When pointed out that the players had also talked to the press, Ahmad Shukri said they had done so in "self-defence".
He said Butler's 15 per cent pay-cut for one month was for scolding and pushing Sharbinee out of the dressing room.
Butler, when contacted yesterday, said he only heard from journalists about the outcome of the council meeting.
"If what they said is true, then all I can say is that I am astonished... dumbfounded maybe.
"But until I receive everything in writing, there is nothing more I can say at this time," he said.