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Ali Kasim
Friday, Apr 25, 2014

Sports

S.League officials clash

The New Paper | Ali Kasim | Friday, Apr 25, 2014

Balestier Khalsa's team manager R Vengadasalam (above) stunned players and officials when he approached Warriors coach Alex Weaver and unleased a tirade of abuse.

Fans at last Saturday's Prime League match between Warriors FC and Balestier Khalsa were treated to a half-time show on the running track.

R Vengadasalam, Balestier's Prime League team manager, stunned players and officials when he walked up to Warriors coach Alex Weaver and unleased a tirade of abuse.

Venga was upset with Weaver's post-match comments when the two S.League sides met at the Jalan Besar Stadium on March 28.

The match, which ended 2-2, saw three Balestier players sent off by referee Sukhbir Singh - one for violent conduct off the ball.

Speaking after the game, Englishman Weaver described Balestier as ill-disciplined.

He said at the time: "It's a shame the league had to see that tonight... They've let the league down, without question.

"As a foreigner, you see a lot of that in Asian football - guys losing their tempers and kicking out.

"If you want to improve the standards of the league and the football over here, you can't have that."

Last Saturday, Venga walked up to Weaver and called him an "English ***t", and demanded he issue an apology to Balestier Khalsa and club coach, Marko Kraljevic.

When contacted by The New Paper yesterday, Venga, 53, insisted his actions were justified as he was defending his club.

He said: "I was very upset that he called my club a disgrace."

RACIST

"He should've just talked about how his Warriors could not beat a team with eight men," added Venga, who has managed Woodlands and Tampines in the past.

"Yes, I called him an "English ***t, but that was because Weaver was racist first - when he said he sees such displays only in Asian football.

"You mean to say there has never been three red cards in English football?"

Weaver told TNP he had never met Venga before the incident.

The Warriors coach said he tried to calm the veteran official down and invited him into his office for a chat - but Venga refused.

Said Weaver: "I think he just wanted to create a scene and wind me up. He was ranting and raving and getting really abusive.

"He said I had no right to talk about his club, which I don't understand because I was asked by the media about the red cards.

"It's only words but, yes, I was fuming inside because he kept calling me an 'English ***t' repeatedly in front of the ball boys, young players and some of my team officials.

"It was disappointing, really. I don't know how his chairman would react if he heard and saw what happened...

"It's a real shame to Singapore football."

While Weaver will not take the issue further, Venga said: "He condemned the S.League which, as you know, I'm very passionate about.

"In 19 years, I've confronted many coaches, but I've never dished out such abuse before - because no one has run another club down like the way he did."

aakasim@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 23 in The New Paper.

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