WFI to terminate contract, coach Cook shocked

In a bizarre move, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decided to terminate women’s coach Andrew Cook’s contract three months before its deadline. 

Published: 26th June 2020 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2020 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Women's wrestling coach Andrew Cook

Women's wrestling coach Andrew Cook. (Photo| Facebook)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a bizarre move, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decided to terminate women’s coach Andrew Cook’s contract three months before its deadline. The body cited the American’s refusal to participate in Sports Authority of India’s online classes, but he refuted the charge. He instead claimed that a request to change the topic for online classes and his alleged interaction with media cost him his job.

The American was hired by SAI on WFI’s recommendation in September 2018 for a monthly salary of $4,500. “He was contacted by SAI for attending E-Pathshala, online classes, but he refused on the grounds of non-payment. We also spoke to women wrestlers and even they said the coach is not indispensable. After consulting with the executive board, we decided to terminate his contract,” said WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar. 

Tomar said Cook was paid for three months, till May. However, he clarified that the decision will have no bearing on Georgian coach Temo Kazarashvili’s contract. “All I can say is they wanted me out,” said Cook. “I attended the classes they asked me to. They asked me to speak on athletes’ selection in USA, which isn’t a thing. I only asked to change the topic.

In America, that’s not how athletes are selected. Athletes attend school and work through that system. They declined to change, making me look defiant, I guess.” “I have passion for wrestling. This is very disappointing.  It’s too bad for them, but I will have no problem finding work elsewhere.” Even other coaches who participated in these online sessions confirmed that Cook was present in most of the classes.

“I cannot say for sure that he attended all classes but can confirm that he was there in most. He is a good coach and should have been here till Olympics,” said Kripashankar Patel, former women’s team coach and international referee.  A few women wrestlers also spoke highly of Cook and said he was organising online classes for them ever since he left for US in mid-March.


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