The All India Football Federation (AIFF) officials have found a unique if not bizarre way to punish India midfielder N P Pradeep who continues to deny having spoken out against them.
Pradeep, the AIFF executive committee decided on Friday, will have to publish a disclaimer in a national multi-edition newspaper that he hadn't posted any derogatory comments on a social networking website. He must still apologise "for any disregard caused to the AIFF and its officials," according to an AIFF media release.
"There were many options available, including banning him. Pradeep said that he did not post those comments supporting (former national coach) Bob Houghton and it is possible that someone may have hacked into his account. After much consideration, the committee decided this would be the best course of action," said Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary.
Pradeep has already denied making any adverse comment, apparently stating his lack of knowledge of the English language to back his claim.Contacted by HT, the Viva Kerala player asked to be spoken to in Hindi and said: "The day (April 22) it happened, I was playing against East Bengal. Somebody must have logged into my account and written it while I was playing. I will get in touch with the AIFF before issuing the advertisement."
Arrows' future tense
The future of Indian Arrows, the youth development side formed by the AIFF to play in the I-League, hinges on whether a sponsor can be found by May 31. The Arrows are currently 10th in the League having defied pre-competition prediction of them being no match for the pros. An AIFF official said it needed around Rs 7 crore to run the team and it is impossible to do that on the approximate Rs 31 crore now annually paid by marketing partners Reliance-IMG.
"What we are getting now is what we got from our earlier marketing partners. It will be sad if we can't continue with this idea," the official said.