Nicolai Adam has agreed to step down as India’s under-17 FIFA World Cup football coach. As first reported by HT last week, the marquee German age-group coach decided to resign after working out a ‘deal’ with the All India Football Federation.
When the AIFF roped in Adam with much fanfare in 2015, he was offered a deal until December 2017. Adam was being paid about 12,000 Euros (inclusive of taxes) per month. The ‘separation’ fee will four and half-month of his current wages.
A letter signed by the entire U-17 World Cup squad was enough for the AIFF to showcause Adam. The teenage boys complained of physical abuse by the coach and his assistant Etibar Nizami Ibrahimov. There were charges of racial abuse, too.
“When the boys cried in front of the AIFF president Praful Patel, Adam’s fate was sealed. The federation was scared that if the boys reported the matter to the police, Adam would be in a bigger problem. The only way out for him was to resign,” said a source in the know of things.
The showcause to Adam set the ball rolling for the imminent sack. The sports ministry stepped in asking the federation to explain.
“Since the government is supposed to bear 30 per cent of Adam’s fees, they can certainly ask for an explanation,” said the source.
Bhutia fails to pacify the boys
The charges and the unwavering stand taken by the boys -- even former captain Bhaichung Bhutia failed to pacify them -- forced the AIFF to negotiate an exit deal with Adam, who initially refused to go.
Earlier this month, the Indian U-17 team finished last in the Granatkin Memorial Cup in Russia that featured 16 teams from across the world. India managed a solitary win from five matches. India will host the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in October.
The coach, whose overall performance with the Indian team was nothing noteworthy, wanted a 12-month severance pay. The AIFF bosses did not agree to this.
The national camp is scheduled to resume in Goa on Wednesday. With Adam on his way out, the federation is likely to make stop-gap arrangements till a new coach is named.
“The morale in the camp is very low. The boys are scared and have refused to meet Adam,” said an official.