Sunday, July 14, 2024

AIFF strongly counters sacked coach Igor Stimac’s allegations


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NEW DELHI, June 24 : The ongoing battle between the former India head coach and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has a new development as the AIFF has officially responded to Igor Stimac’s comments via a statement posted on their website.
“While we do not believe it is appropriate to enter into a debate or indulge in a series of responses and counter-allegations with Mr. Stimac. However, it is important that there is an accurate public record of certain matters raised in Stimac’s communication. We, therefore, take this opportunity to clarify these here,” read the statement.
Stimac had accused the AIFF of negligence, not providing support and even went as far as calling Indian football ‘imprisoned,’ during his final address to the media which has been responded to by the governing body.
Stimac, who had been previously accused of using an Astrologer’s advise had denied the fact but the statement by the AIFF suggests otherwise.
“The AIFF also chose to ignore various misdeeds and negative statements of the coach over time, of which there are too many to traverse, only to ensure that India’s preparation for FIFA World Cup qualifiers were not hampered. The new AIFF leadership was shocked to note his dependence on an astrologer to determine player’s call ups, and team selections and took immediate necessary action to end the same.”
“His selection of support staff had also gone unquestioned and was the subject of disquiet among many players. Despite all the support, the coach always sought to deflect blame and according to him everything and everyone else was wrong and responsible for any given situation except himself. This sentiment was also shared by various players who had brought their concerns regarding Mr. Stimac’s coaching style and tactics to the attention of the AIFF on multiple occasions,” added the statement.
The final nail in Stimac’s coffin as the head coach of the national team was the loss against Qatar in the final game of the second round of the FIFA WC Qualifiers as the side missed the golden opportunity of progressing to the third round for the first time in the country’s history.
“The AIFF took the decision to terminate Igor Stimac’s contract for just cause, and in the interest of the nation and will continue to act to safeguard our football, players and the stakeholders. Change is difficult for all concerned and every transition is challenging for a system. The AIFF looks forward to turning the page and beginning a new chapter for Indian football along with its stakeholders and all the lovers of Indian football,” concluded the statement.
Contract was finalised without ‘core committee approval’
The AIFF have now stated that the final amount in Stimac’s contract was done without the approval of the core committee.
“The current leadership of the AIFF took office in September 2022, at which time Stimac had already been in the position for over three years. When his contract came up for renewal in October 2023, the Core Committee of the AIFF, under the chairmanship of Vice-President N.A. Haris met in advance and proposed to the AIFF that Stimac could be offered a two-year contract with a monthly salary of US$ 30,000 from January 2024 and to instruct the legal team to finalise the contract ‘with a termination clause favourable to AIFF’,” read the statement made by the AIFF.
According to the statement, Stimac’s new contract’s details were finalised and amended without the core committee’s approval. The new contract stipulated that Stimac’s contract was for 30,000 USD per month till February 2025 and raised to 40,000 USD from February 2024-January 2026 ‘without Core Committee approval for the said amount’
The AIFF stated that Stimac was trying to get out of his coaching stint and was not entirely focused on the important FIFA WC Qualifier against Kuwait that took place on June 6 which was also Sunil Chhetri’s final game with the squad.
Another point of speculation was Stimac’s announcement in which he talked about how a meeting with the AIFF ultimately led to him having to have heart surgery in December 2023, a fact that the AIFF has now announced that they did not know about which they believe was an attempt to ‘deflect the serious matter of Stimac not having been medically fit to render coaching services’. (IANS)


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