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AIFF responds to Stimac's comments, acknowledges his dependence on astrologer, "unprofessional" demands

24 Jun 2024

New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): The All India Football Federation (AIFF) responded to former head coach Igor Stimac's comments after he got terminated from his position.

Stimac's contract was terminated on June 17 after AIFF senior officials held a virtual meeting with the Croatian. A couple of days after his contract was terminated, Stimac accused AIFF and its president Kalyan Chaubey and stated that he would file a lawsuit if his dues were not cleared in ten days.

AIFF released a statement on Monday stating that the comments made by Stimac were done with "the sole intent of maligning the AIFF and showing its personnel in poor light."The Federation also acknowledged that Stimac used an astrologer to determine team selection and player call-ups. AIFF also claimed that there were concerns regarding his coaching style and tactics.

"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 players' call ups, 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," the AIFF said in a statement.

"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," the statement further added.

During his interaction with the media, Stimac had also accused the AIFF of their failure to provide the players with GPS vests for 200 days as the equipment got lost in transit in October during the Asian Games 2023.

AIFF confirmed that the new devices were ordered and arrived in March 2024 after it was confirmed that the lost devices could not be recovered.

"With respect to the unavailability of GPS vests, Mr. Stimac is aware that the team's GPS equipment was lost by the airline in transit during the team's travel in September 2023 from New Delhi to Hangzhou for the Asian Games. Mr Stimac, himself being part of the travel contingent and with the Team Manager reporting to him during team travel, was well aware of the incident and the cause of it. These are expensive gadgets and multiple attempts were made to recover the baggage without avail," AIFF said in the statement.

"When it became clear that recovery was unlikely, new devices were ordered and arrived in India in March 2024 after the completion of essential procedural formalities. The vests were immediately made available to the team for the all-important leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifier starting from day one of the Bhubaneshwar camp, i.e. 10th May 2024 onwards. While it is true that the team did not have access to the GPS vests for approximately 50 days of training and match play due to their unfortunate loss in checked-in baggage, the coach's statement that GPS equipment was not available for over 200 days is obviously misleading and an attempt to exaggerate the matter for effect," AIFF further added.

AIFF also responded to Stimac's comments about going into heart surgery while he was in charge of the Indian football team.

"The AIFF is also shocked to note from Mr. Stimac's public statements that he underwent heart surgery during his engagement with the AIFF. He has irresponsibly blamed the AIFF for causing his heart ailment, attempting to deflect the serious matter of his not having been medically fit to render coaching services and his failure to formally disclose the same to the AIFF," the governing body remarked.

The AIFF also addressed Stimac's sacking and claimed that the body had to act in the nation's interest. The governing body claimed that the Croatian manager was offered to part away on mutual terms but he refused the offer and made unreasonable as well as unprofessional demands.

"The AIFF had to act in the national interest and to ensure the game moves forward in the country. Mr. Stimac was offered the opportunity to part ways on mutual terms. He refused the offer, making unreasonable and unprofessional demands in response. The AIFF was, thus, left with no option than to terminate Mr. Stimac's contract for just cause and in compliance with the terms of the contract, offering him a 3 months' severance fee," AIFF said in the statement. (ANI)

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