Will sue AIFF if not paid in full in 10 days: Igor Stimac | Football News - Hindustan Times

Will sue AIFF if not paid in full in 10 days: Igor Stimac

By, Kolkata
Jun 18, 2024 08:58 PM IST

In his reply to AIFF, the Croat has said his termination was in violation of FIFA regulations

One day after receiving the termination letter from the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Igor Stimac has written back saying the decision to sack him was “unilateral”, “unprofessional” and in violation of FIFA regulations.

India coach Igor Stimac reacts (REUTERS)
India coach Igor Stimac reacts (REUTERS)

Listing what he termed as breach of contract by AIFF and promises it did not keep, Stimac has sought full compensation as per his contract within 10 days. Failing which, Stimac has said he will sue AIFF at the appropriate FIFA platform.

That would be a first in the history of AIFF, which turns 87 on June 23. And it would come less than two years after AIFF being banned by FIFA for third party interference on August 14, 2022.

Stimac’s contract is till June 2026. Unless, AIFF can prove he has breached terms of agreement, if removed before that the federation must pay the full amount of Stimac’s monthly salary till then as part the agreement. Stimac’s contract is said to be worth $30,000 per month.

News of Stimac’s sacking on AIFF’s website and other media outlets without a "conversation” with him was the “last thing” Stimac said he had expected after working for five years as India men’s team’s head coach. Reports of his termination have also damaged his future employment possibilities, the Croat has written to M Satyanarayan, AIFF’s acting secretary-general. HT has seen the letter.

As reported by HT on Tuesday, the letter mentions Stimac saying he would step down if “others are ready to take their part of responsibility and do the same.” AIFF refusing to consider that showed “how much you actually care about Indian football.”

Stimac has said that his comment about quitting if India didn't make the third round of the World Cup qualifiers was made in the “sincere belief” that AIFF would fulfil “promises made at the time”.

“And I never asked anything for myself…, it was all about improving the care for my team, my staff and support staff,” the letter says.

Stimac has written about contract extensions for team manager Velu Dhalayamani, match analyst Joy Gabriel and psychologist Shyamal Vallabhjee which, he said, were agreed to by former secretary-general Shaji Prabhakaran in October 2023. And not executed by AIFF immediately after Prabhakaran was removed in November 2023.

An analyst and sports psychologist are considered basic requirements for most international football teams.

As is GPS equipment, which measures health parameters in real time. India had to make do without it for over 200 days, Stimac has said. The GPS equipment was lost after 2023 Asian Games.

Stimac has also mentioned the public assurance of a chartered flight for the game against Afghanistan in Saudi Arabia in March by AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey. Not adhering to that meant the squad had to travel 30 hours without sleep to Guwahati for the home fixture, he has said. India lost 1-2 which irreparably dented chances of a first ever berth in the third round.

Chaubey had also promised in March that contracts of the support staff would be taken care of immediately, Stimac has said. “It took you another three months to do so.”

Among “acts of contract breach” by AIFF, Stimac has listed Chaubey and "SAI officials" changing the squad for Asian Games and the president arranging matches without “consulting me.” Those matches ruined chances of “reaching a satisfactory deal” about the 2023-24 domestic calendar, he has said.

The Asian Games being primarily an under-23 tournament and on FIFA dates, India’s squad had initially omitted Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan. As for the calendar, playing King’s Cup and Merdeka tournament last year cut into time when ISL could have been paused for a preparatory camp for the 2024 Asian Cup.

Stating that the removal was without just cause, Stimac has sought the “residual value of my employment contract that was prematurely terminated” as per FIFA regulations. “Otherwise I will start proceedings against AIFF in front of the competent FIFA Football Tribunal and sue AIFF.”

Sending a termination letter without approval of the executive committee or the technical committee was a violation of the process, an AIFF official said on Tuesday. The committee that recommended Stimac’s removal is not recognised by the AIFF constitution, the official said.

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