PUNE: After much speculation about a rift between FC Pune City and Antonio Habas, Indian Super League (ISL) franchise on Friday announced that the club and coach have parted ways.
The club said that it has mutually terminated the employment contract with Head Coach Antonio Lopez Habas and Assistant Coach Miguel Martinez Gonzalez with immediate effect.
“FC Pune City thanks Habas for his efforts over the last one and half years and wishes him the best in his future endeavours,” the club said in a statement.
Antonio Habas on his part added that it was a very professional and pleasant experience working with FC Pune City in ISL. However, due to the longer season, it is unfortunate that I cannot continue as I have already made prior contractual commitments.
Sakal Times spoke to FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel regarding the development and the upcoming pre-season and appointment of the new coach.
“When we signed him (Antonio Habas) after season two, the contract was for two years, i.e. till December 2017. But this season would go on until March 2018. So the problem was he had already taken some commitments from January 2018 so we were unable to decide what to do from January onwards,” he said.
“He was there with us during the ISL players’ draft, that time we discussed if there could be a way out, but we were close to the season, as we approached September, we decided to part ways with the mutual consent,” he further said.The premature end to Habas’ two-year contract means that the club has very little time on hand before the pre-season begins next month but Modwel said that despite the obvious challenges of short on time, the hunt for the coach is on and coach would arrive before the pre-season starts in October first week.
“We are looking at many names from different countries for the vacant post and the announcement will be made in the last week of September, as the negotiations are going on,” he added.
FC Pune City used to have their pre-season training in a foreign country but now the club’s training facility in Gahunje is ready. The club will have it’s pre-season in India itself having already completed the roster.
There were also few doubts about Hrithik Roshan’s participation as a co-owner for the upcoming season, but Modwel cleared the air by stating that there is nothing he can talk about as Roshan continues to be the shareholder of FC Pune City.