After long struggle, footballer Rani gets AIFF certificateUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 22:16 IST
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has issued certificate of participation at the senior nationals to Uttar Pradesh’s woman footballer Varsha Rani. The move is significant in view of Rani’s fight against an alleged injustice meted out to her by the Uttar Pradesh Football Sangh (UPFS) last year.
In May last, the UPFS’ secretary Mohd Shamsuddin had issued “very poor performance” remark on Varsha’s certificate of participation at the Senior National Championship held at Cuttack (Odisha) in October 2018 after she allegedly refused to meet an alleged ‘unethical demand’ of the UPFS official in Varanasi.
“I am thankful to the AIFF, which honored my request and issued the fresh certificate,” Bareilly’s Varsha said on Monday. “I will continue my fight against my harassment by UPFS secretary.”
Hindustan Times in 2019 had raised Varsha’s issue following which the AIFF had begun its enquiry and even sought a clarification from the UPFS. “The participation agreement is issued by AIFF and nobody has the right to put any comment on a participation certificate issued by the AIFF,” AIFF secretary-general Kushal Das had then said.
Shamsuddin had justified his decision to write ‘very poor performance’ on Varsha’s certificate. “There has to be some punishment for poor performance. So, I wrote a comment on the certificates of players. It is justified, as I want everyone to know how bad their performance was at the nationals.”
“Some girls in the team were playing politics and intentionally lost the match. I had no other option but to put my comments on the certificates of the entire team. The AIFF cannot stop me from writing on the certificates even if it is issued by them,” he said then.
In fact, Varsha had accused Shamsuddin of ruining the careers of many women footballers in UP by writing unfavourable comments on their certificates. “I was asked to come alone to collect my certificate of participation. When I went to Shamsuddin’s place with my parents in Varanasi, my father was scolded and given the certificate only after I submitted an affidavit seeking apology. It was a big humiliation for me and my parents,” Rani had said in her letter to UP’s chief minister Yogi Aditynath.
“Even before the national championship, I was humiliated and harassed by people close to Shamsuddin during the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Memorial State Championship in Gonda. Almost all the girls in the team were asked to humiliate me in public. I tried to raise my voice but everyone told me to compromise with the system as it’s been happening for the last many years,” she further states.
Shamsuddin has earlier been accused of sexual abuse by a woman footballer in Varanasi in 2014 and was even taken into custody. A few players HT spoke to alleged that the functioning of the Sanjay Singh-led UPFS was dictatorial.
“I have my own style of functioning and I find my comments on the players’ certificates as an act of punishment for their indiscipline and poor performance during the Cuttack tournament,” he said.
Shamsuddin’s act of signing ‘very poor performance’ on Varsha’s certificate was criticized by the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association too. “No one has the right to write on the participation certificate of a player when it has been issued by the national federation. AIFF did justice to the girl footballer and it’s a lesson to UPFS official,” said UPOA’s secretary Anandeshwar Pandey.