Lokomotiv Moscow coach Markus Gisdol said on Tuesday that he has resigned from his position at the Russian Premier League side in protest against Russia’s war with Ukraine, but the club insisted he had in fact been sacked.
In a statement published by German newspaper Bild, Gisdol said he had been forced to take action having witnessed what is going on in Ukraine.
“I cannot pursue my calling in a country whose leader is responsible for a war of aggression in the middle of Europe,” the 52-year-old said. “That is not in line with my values, which is why I have resigned from my position as coach with immediate effect.
“I can’t stand on the training ground in Moscow, train the players, demand professionalism and a few kilometres away orders are given that bring great suffering to an entire people. That is my personal decision and I am absolutely convinced of it.”
His club, however, took to Twitter to say that Gisdol had been dismissed.
“Markus Gisdol was dismissed from the post of head coach of FC Lokomotiv. The club and the team are working as usual and are concentrating on achieving the maximum results in the upcoming matches,” Lokomotiv said.
German coach Gisdol, who had previously spent his whole playing and coaching career in his homeland, most recently with Cologne, had been in charge for 12 matches.
The move came a day after FIFA and UEFA jointly suspended Russian teams from all international football, meaning Spartak Moscow, Russia’s only side left in European competition, will no longer compete in the Europa League.
Lokomotiv were also in the Europa League but finished bottom of their group.