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Avramovic cleared of making 'critical comments'

Avramovic had insisted to The New Paper that his comments were taken out of context. -TNP
David Lee

Tue, Sep 18, 2012
The New Paper

National football coach Raddy Avramovic.

The national football coach did not criticise the S-League.

After seeking clarification from Raddy Avramovic about comments attributed to him in The Straits Times report headlined "Domestic woes cause Lions' slide", the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has ascertained that the 62-year-old Serb did not criticise the S-League.

FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong and general secretary Winston Lee had, over the past few days, reviewed the information, including the transcript of the media interview, submitted by officials who were in Yangon, Myanmar, where the comments were made.

Before last Tuesday's friendly against Myanmar that ended 1-1, Avramovic (left) was quoted as saying: "In my nine years here, no exceptional players have emerged, apart from Hariss (Harun).

"If you do not produce better quality players, you cannot progress."

On Wednesday, Avramovic had insisted to The New Paper that his comments were taken out of context.

Lim said: "One of Raddy's key points during the interview is that continuity is particularly important in youth development.

"Continuity in the context that our youth players must stay in the game and continually progress from the youth and club levels to the international stage, as well as to be exposed continuously to international matches - both at the club and national levels.

"Only then will we see an increase in the number of exceptional young players, like Hariss Harun, who have the potential and ability to play in Europe.

"Raddy did not mean that no good players are coming from the ranks of our youth development structure.

"As the national coach, he has said that all players for the national team must be at least good or very good, otherwise they would not be in the national team."

As for Avramovic's quote about there being "no exceptional players... apart from Hariss," Lim said: "It should be noted that he often singled out good young players in the S-League with the potential to succeed but yet to achieve the tag of 'exceptional young' player."

Lee maintained that the FAS remains committed to the target of the Suzuki Cup final and gave Avramovic a vote of confidence before their campaign starts on Nov 25 against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Responding to the FAS' statement, Marc Lim, sports editor of The Straits Times, said: "We acknowledge that the FAS has met to discuss the comments made by national coach Raddy Avramovic to The Straits Times. The paper would like to reiterate that we stand by the story and will address the issue in The Sunday Times."

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