Mumbai: Ending months of speculation, I-League champions Bengaluru FC announced on Tuesday that it has parted ways with its successful head coach Ashley Westwood "by mutual consent".
The severing of ties between the club, winners of the I-League crowns twice in the last three years as well as the Federation Cup once (in 2014), has brought to an end "a successful three-year association", the club said in a media statement from Bengaluru.
"The Blues have also made the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup this season under Westwood and will look to go a step further when the continental competition resumes in September," said the release, referring to the club's 3-2 win over Kitchee of Hong Kong under the guidance of Westwood.
"The Englishman was at the helm of affairs since the club's inception in 2013 where the Blues went on to stun Indian football by winning the I-League in its debut season. 2014 too was a successful season where Bengaluru won the Federation Cup, finished second in the League and made the knock-out stages in the AFC Cup," the club said in its statement.
"It's been an extremely difficult time for the management of the club to part ways with Ashley Westwood. The decision hasn't been the easiest to take but like always, it is one made in the best interests of Bengaluru FC. We sat across the table with Ashley and arrived at a consensus together," said Parth Jindal, CEO of Bengaluru FC.
"We would like to thank Ashley for what has been a phenomenal three years with the club. His work ethic and desire to succeed during his tenure has been second to none and the role he has played in putting BFC on the football map will always be a part of the club's history," he added.
"I am extremely proud of my time and achievements during my tenure at BFC. I came to the country with a blank canvas, tasked with helping to build a club from scratch, improve Indian football and to try to produce some players to go on to represent the country," said Westwood in his statement.
"I feel with 3 major trophies, multiple 'Coach of the Year' awards and developing as many as 10 players to go on to represent India across different ages, I have achieved all of my objectives," the Englishman said.
"My time with BFC has been a memorable one and I'll never forget all that we achieved. I'm saddened to leave but I know I have left the club in a very strong position as Champions of India once again and safely through to the quarter finals in the AFC Cup. I wish the club all the best for the future," he added.
The club would now have to search for a new coach for its AFC Cup last eight in September.