I-league champions Bengaluru FC brought its coaching contract with Ashley Westwood to an abrupt end on Tuesday. The club announced that Westwood who has coached the team since its inception will not have his contract renewed.
This announcement comes as a shock not only because the club only won its second league title in three years recently, but also because the season is far from over with The Blues in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup quarterfinals.
According to some sources, the decision is the result of a disagreement over Westwood's remuneration, with Westwood reportedly unwilling to agree to a pay cut in his next contract.
The English coach had, in three years, led the team to as many tournaments wins, with two league club titles and one Federation Cup title. He is regarded as the main architect of the club’s current status in Indian football and his success is considered unmatchable by any other current coaches in the country.
39-year-old Westwood said, “I am extremely proud of my time and achievements during my tenure at BFC. I came to the country with a blank canvas, tasked with helping to build a club from scratch, improve Indian football and to try to produce some players to go on to represent the country.”
“I also want to thank the most important and fundamental part of this club, the fans, especially the West Block Blues who will always have a very special place in my and my family’s heart,” said the Manchester United Academy graduate about the fans.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time for the management of the club to part ways with Ashley Westwood. The decision hasn’t been the easiest to take but like always, it is one made in the best interests of Bengaluru FC,” said Parth Jindal, CEO BFC.
Before taking on the role of head coach of The Blues, Westwood had a place in the FA Youth Cup-winning team in 1995 of the Red Devils (Manchester United) but never made into the first team.
For most of his playing career, Westwood had played in the second division before his career was cut short due to a hamstring injury following which he had played a managerial role for Blackpool.