Monday, July 15, 2024

The sooner Chaubey leaves, the better it is for Indian football: Igor Stimac


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New Delhi, June 21: Ousted India football coach Igor Stimac on Friday launched a stinging attack on AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey, saying the sooner he leaves the post, the better it would be for the future of football in the country where the globally-loved sport is not growing at all.
Stimac was on Monday sacked as head coach following the team’s failure to reach the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. A day later, the Croat threatened to file a lawsuit against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the FIFA Tribunal if his outstanding dues were not cleared in 10 days.
During a lengthy online press conference on Friday, Stimac said Indian football is “imprisoned” and blamed Chaubey for most of the problems besetting the game. He also said that he was “fed up of the lies and unfulfilled promises” during his tenure.
“The sooner Kalyan Chaubey leaves AIFF, the better it is for Indian football,” Stimac said.
“Kalyan only cares about being popular – recent media meets shows that. You say he is a politician, no one knows him even in Kolkata. We need someone strong, influential and with backing to lead Indian football.
“Kalyan’s priority is to increase clicks on social media and get photographed with famous players instead of thinking about the wellbeing of Indian football.
“Football is the most popular sport in the world, but India is the only place where football is not growing,” he added.
Stimac was appointed as the head coach following the departure of his predecessor Stephen Constantine in March 2019. A few days after India suffered a defeat against Qatar in the final second round match of World Cup Qualifiers earlier this month, the AIFF sacked Stimac.
The outspoken coach also took aim at AIFF Technical Committee head and India great I M Vijayan, saying he is not fit for the job.
“I M Vijayan was a fantastic player but he is not the person to head the national federation’s technical committee,” he said.
Stimac, who was part of Croatia team that won the bronze medal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, said he has been sacked as a coach for the first time in his career.
It was impossible for me to continue without enough support, I was fed up of the lies, the unfulfilled promises and being surrounded by people who are only thinking about their own interests,” Stimac said from Croatia.
The 56-year-old revealed that he was given a final warning before the Asian Cup merely for trying to convince the AIFF about the importance of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Stimac said that the meeting resulted in him going to the hospital and undergoing a surgery to treat a heart condition.
AIFF never consulted me for finalising matches
The AIFF terminated Stimac’s contract following a series of poor results. But Stimac blamed it on the federation saying its president never consulted him before finalising the team’s matches.
Stimac also said there is no mutual trust between the AIFF and FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited), the federation’s commercial partners who organise the Indian Super League, the country’s top-tier football league.
All words, no action
Stimac said there is no clear structure and stability in Indian football thanks to the AIFF.
He also stated that things were better when previous secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran was in charge of running the day-to-day affairs of Indian football. Last November, Prabhakaran was terminated by the AIFF due to “breach of trust”.
Stimac said his support staff was not provided with the technology used in modern football by teams all over the world.
AIFF to respond to Stimac’s remarks in next 48 hours
The All India Football Federation said on Friday that it will respond to Stimac’s scathing attack against some of its senior functionaries in the next 48 hours.
The AIFF, in a statement issued following Stimac’s press conference on Friday, said, “It has come to our attention that former India men’s team head coach Mr. Igor Stimac has made certain remarks in the media pertaining to functioning of the All India Football Federation and some of its senior officials. The AIFF will issue a statement in this regard in the next 48 hours.” (PTI)


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