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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

'Sacked for the first time', Igor Stimac tears into All India Football Federation

Stimac — who by his own admission has never been sacked in his coaching career — on Monday got the boot following the team’s failure to reach the third round of the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 22.06.24, 11:21 AM
Igor Stimac.

Igor Stimac. File image

Ousted India football coach Igor Stimac on Friday launched a scathing attack on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its president Kalyan Chaubey, saying the sooner he leaves the post, the better it would be for the future of football in the country.

Stimac — who by his own admission has never been sacked in his coaching career — on Monday got the boot following the team’s failure to reach the third round of the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers.

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“I was never sacked in my career. This is the first time,” Stimac revealed during an online news conference, which lasted little less than two hours, on Friday.

He said Indian football is “imprisoned” and blamed Chaubey for most of the problems besetting the game.

“The sooner Kalyan Chaubey leaves AIFF, the better it will be for Indian football,” Stimac said.

“Kalyan only cares about being popular. You say he is a politician... no one knows him even in Calcutta. We need someone strong 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.”

The AIFF, later on Friday evening, said it would issue a statement in regard to Stimac’s harsh words “in the next 48 hours.”

Stimac was appointed as the India head coach following the departure of his predecessor Stephen Constantine in the summer of 2019.

The outspoken coach also took aim at the AIFF technical committee head and former India captain IM Vijayan, saying he is not fit for the job.

“IM Vijayan was a fantastic player but not the person to head the technical committee,” he said.

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 World Cup Qualifiers.

“I was disturbed with everything that was going on. I had to undergo a heart surgery in December,” Stimac said.

Interestingly, AIFF sources said the Croat had kept the federation in the dark about the operation and it came to know much later.

A day after he got the boot, Stimac threatened to file a lawsuit against the AIFF in the Fifa Tribunal if his outstanding dues ($360,000) were not cleared within 10 days.

“The AIFF is now panicking as they’ll have to pay me in full, which is a huge amount for them.”

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