Houghton resigns as national coach - AIFF trying hard to change bob's mind

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 4.05.10
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New Delhi: Chief national coach Bob Houghton has submitted his resignation on Monday, according to All India Football Federation (AIFF) sources. Houghton’s resignation came after the national body failed to meet the deadline set by the British coach to extend his contract beyond the Asian Cup in January 2011.

Sources, however, said that the AIFF president Praful Patel is trying is best to convince Houghton to withdraw his resignation. “Patel is personally in touch with the coach in South Africa. He has requested him to hold on till May 7 when the executive committee meets in Delhi,” he said.

Subroto Dutta, senior vice president of the AIFF, when asked, said: “I have no knowledge of Houghton’s resignation. A final call on his demands will be taken in the executive committee meeting.”

While the panicky AIFF officials remained in the constant denial mode, sources claimed, Houghton, who asked for an extension of his contract from July 2010 and a monthly increase of salary by $10,000, has given the AIFF a three-month notice through his resignation letter. His present monthly remuneration is $20,000.

Houghton, under whom India won three titles in as many years, is believed to be extremely upset by the treatment meted out to him by a section of the officials in the AIFF.

“Bob’s biggest complaint is the breach of contract on the part of the federation,” said an AIFF official. “A particular AIFF official began negotiating with some other Fifa agents for a new coach to be appointed after the Asian Cup. The coach was so upset that he immediately demanded a new contract from July 2010.

“He is very sad that he has to go because of the whims and fancies of a particular officebearer AIFF with whom he developed a bitter relationship over the past many months. He really wanted to stay but things were made increasingly difficult for him,” said the official.

The coach was particularly unhappy with the slow progress of preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup where India are pitted against strong teams like Australia, South Korea and Bahrain. None of his demands, he felt, were met on time and players he wanted were not contracted.

The departure of the high profile coach, AIFF insiders felt, could be a big blow for the national team. “The team was set to play a series of friendlies and was to leave for Portugal immediately after the I-League for a month-long practice session. We are not too sure what will happen to that plan,” he said.

Houghton’s exit, it is predicted could also spell the doom for the ambitious Goal 2011 project under which 30 top players were to be exclusively contracted for the national team for a eight-month period.