SPORTS

Doherty quits and fires a parting shot at federation

iall Doherty has quit as coach of Greece’s national rugby team after a falling-out with the country’s rugby federation over selections for the Sevens Tournament to take place in Corfu in June. Doherty said yesterday he had been left no alternative but to step down from his post. «Unfortunately, the federation wanted me to pick certain players and leave out certain others for the Sevens Tournament in Corfu. They also wanted me to take a pay cut,» he told website www.sportingreece.com. «I am afraid I can never operate with anyone who interferes with selection and starts telling me whom I can and cannot pick.» The 53-year-old Irishman, who is based in Cyprus, was appointed for the one-off game against Slovakia last May as a replacement for New Zealander Matt Bridge. Greece won the game in Thessaloniki 20-17 and were promoted to FIRA group 3C where they will meet the likes of Finland, Luxembourg, Israel and Cyprus. FIRA is the international rugby federation. Doherty was also in charge when Greece produced a fine performance to beat Monaco 21-9 in the principality in February. With Greece and Cyprus due to face each other in group 3C, there was always a possibility that Doherty, who also looks after the Cyprus national team, would step down from his Greek role anyway. But it was by no means certain. «I have really enjoyed my time with the Greece team,» said Doherty. «They are a great bunch of guys and I really think they have the potential to go places.» «However, I am disappointed with the way the federation has acted, especially in the way they failed to return any telephone calls until the moment they asked me to change my selections for the Sevens.» By last night the Greek federation had not responded to Niall Doherty’s resignation.