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Kerala: Belgian coach sacked for paedophile links

April 01, 2008 19:51 IST

A Belgian coach serving as technical adviser in a private football academy in Wayanad district has been sacked following reports that he had been convicted in a paedophile case back home and was jailed there for five years.

"It is shocking to know from newspaper reports that Jozef Achtergael, who is serving at our Wayanad camp for four years now, had been convicted in a paedophile case in Belgium and had served a jail sentence till 2000,'' Sports and Education Promotion Trust (SEPT) Chairman Arun Kumar said.

Some national dailies had carried a report on Jozef's past life in Belgium that sent shock waves in the district where SEPT is running one of its 24 coaching camps since 2004 for boys in the age group of 8 to 12.

At an emergency meeting on Tuesday, SEPT sacked Jozef from the post with immediate effect, Kumar said.

"We had no clue about his background and his conduct was good at the camp as there were no complaints from any of the boys so far," he said, adding, however, SEPT decided to sack the 57-year-old Jozef for "hiding the facts" before taking up the assignment on charity.

Jozef had told SEPT he had come to India to serve the society in his remaining life as he could not stay in Belgium, Kumar said.

"Jozef had no direct contact with the boys during training as his job as technical adviser was only to give tips to the young enthusiasts," he said.

Meanwhile, the State and District Football Associations said they had nothing to do with the incident as SEPT is a private academy.

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