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AIFF drop charge, Houghton quits

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) withdrew all charges against Bob Houghton who stepped down as senior national coach on Saturday.

sports Updated: Apr 23, 2011 23:55 IST
HT Correspondent

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) withdrew all charges against Bob Houghton who stepped down as senior national coach on Saturday.

An AIFF media release said: “… the AIFF feels that in the absence of any definitive and concrete evidence the allegations against Mr Houghton cannot be sustained and therefore the AIFF agrees to withdraw all charges and allegations made against him.” Among the charges were fourth official Dinesh Nair accusing Houghton of making a racist remark last October.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, who was a part of the committee examining Houghton’s reply to a showcause notice submitted on April 11, said, “After an independent inquiry by the committee, we had a discussion and Houghton wanted to move on due to personal reasons.”

The AIFF is optimistic of finding a replacement in time for India’s second round 2014 World Cup qualification ties against the UAE, on July 23 and 28. And it could be an Indian.

“There are many factors — decide on what kind of football we want to play and whether that kind of expertise is available in the country. The technical committee will be looking into it and surely we’ll find someone soon enough,” Das said.

Asked about the settlement offered, Das said: “Due to a confidentiality clause I am unable to talk about the amount but it can be said that it was reasonable compensation which both the coach and the AIFF found satisfactory.” AIFF sources said that the settlement was four months’ salary, which is about $120,000 (Rs 54 lakh).

Relations between Houghton and the AIFF officials had soured over the past year. That he repeatedly highlighted India’s lack of infrastructure and the need to overhaul its tournament structure didn’t help and neither did a row with Pradip Choudhury which led to the India manager for the Asian Cup quitting before the competition.

The Rs 16 crore investment to prepare for the finals proved a convenient stick to beat the British coach with.

That Gautam Gambhir alone cost R11 crore for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League or that the average median wage in the English Premier League in 2009 was Rs 7.9 crore would show that while the amount was unheard of for the national team, it was hardly outrageous in this day and age.