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Soccer officials pay price

Imphal, March 21: In what may be termed as “the underground’s fight” against corruption in sports, as many as three office-bearers of the All Manipur Football Association (AMFA), including secretary general L. Ranjit Roy, had to relinquish their posts under pressure from Prepak (Pro), a rebel outfit in the state.

Announcing the acceptance of the resignation of Roy, assistant secretary L. Jyotirmoy Roy, executive member S. Amutombi Singh and AMFA president A. Santoshkumar Singh, on behalf of the executive council, today appealed to the militant group to review its stance that forced the sports organisers to resign from the AMFA on March 11.

Santoshkumar said he has accepted the resignation under “severe constraints”, as the three had tendered the resignation from elsewhere.

“I did not table the matter before the executive council because of time constraint and acted under my discretionary power as the president to accept the resignations,” he said. He explained that the trio were in alleged captivity of Prepak (Pro) on three counts of charges against them and under such circumstances, securing their safety was of topmost priority.

The three were reportedly summoned by the proscribed outfit to an undisclosed place on March 11 and held captive till their unharmed release on March 13.

The rebels accused them of alleged match-fixing in the 7th Manipur state league and poor performance of Manipur state football team in the recent Santosh Trophy tournament in Kerala. “I hope the outfit will review its decision regarding the three office-bearers for the sake of the ongoing football development programme and in the general interest of the game,” the AMFA president added.

The three office bearers have refused to comment on the matter.

The AMFA had instituted a probe into the allegations earlier but the three were acquitted because of lack of evidence to indict them in the alleged match-fixing scandal.

Similar situation of rebel outfits’ involvement in sports management’s internal matters took place some seven years back when there was internal tussles among office-bearers in the state boxing association.

Earlier, Assam too was in jitters over holding the 33rd National Games in Guwahati in 2007 when the Ulfa had called for a boycott of the mega event. The militant outfit had eventually lifted the boycott call few days before the meet started.