Varanasi police on Tuesday arrested UP Football Association’s secretary general Mohd Shamsuddin following an allegation of sexual harassment by a woman footballer.
The veteran sports administrator was arrested from the house of the victim’s relatives in Kasturba Nagar locality, which falls under the Sigra police circle, following a tip off from a group of women footballers. According to sources, Shamsuddin had gone there to ‘convince the family for an out of court settlement’.
“Yes, I sent an SMS to the police about the presence of Shamsuddin at the house,” one of the players told HT on condition of anonymity. In fact, all the 25 players of the state camp, excluding the victim, had barged into the house and shouted slogans against Shamsuddin before his arrest. “We have decided not to go with the state team for the nationals in Assam if the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the UP Football Association do not remove Shamsuddin from all the positions in the state body by Friday,” the campers told HT later in the evening.
The state camp, which began on April 11 at the Dr Sampoornand Stadium in Varanasi, is scheduled to end on April 25, whereas the nationals start on April 28 in Assam. “We don’t want to see this man (Shamsuddin) holding any post in the state body,” a player added.
Yet to act
The game’s governing body AIFF is yet to act on the case. “The AIFF is monitoring the situation and will go by its constitution,” AIFF’s general secretary Kushal Das told HT while speaking over the phone from New Delhi.
But the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association has decided to disaffiliate the UP Football Association within a day or two. Its secretary-general Anandeshwar Pandey said he was waiting for a response from the AIFF and if no action is taken against Shamsuddin, the UPOA would disaffiliate the UPFA and subsequently form an ad hoc body. “It’s very much the prerogative of the UPOA as per the constitutions of the IOA and it’s my responsibility to act for the betterment of sport and sportspersons,” Pandey told HT, adding, “If required, I will approach the IOA to put pressure on AIFF for a stern action.”