Sunil Chhetri reacted strongly to reports that national football coach Bob Houghton had made a racist comment.
"We have been together for almost five years now (Houghton was appointed in June 2006) and I can vouch that apart from being a fine coach, Bob is one of the most well behaved gentlemen I have ever met," Chhetri said on Friday.
The India striker was reacting to the reports of the AIFF executive committee members discussing match official Dinesh Nair accusing Houghton of making a racist comment after a friendly against Yemen in Pune last October. India lost 3-6 and Nair had complained about it to the AIFF.
An AIFF official told HT that the committee had condemned Houghton for this at the last meeting on Wednesday.
"I don't want to get into whatever is going on between Bob and the federation but I think it is patently unfair to accuse him of being a racist," said Chhetri.
About the incident, the player said: "It was the players who got into an argument with the referee not Bob. I know because I was there. Why aren't the players being punished?"
The AIFF is exploring legal options to terminate Houghton's contract, which runs till 2013.