Termination not illegal, AIFF replies to Ambrose’s legal notice
Evidence and proof of misconduct was provided to India under-17 women’s team coach, says federation.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has replied to Alex Ambrose’s legal notice asking it to withdraw the termination letter to the former India under-17 women’s team coach following allegations of sexual misconduct. The letter signed by acting general secretary Sunando Dhar was sent on August 8. HT has a copy of the letter.
Dismissing allegations, that included being made to confess under duress, as “baseless”, AIFF has written to Ambrose’s lawyer Madhukar P Dalvi, that his client “had admitted to the Head Coach (Thomas Dennerby) of the U-17 National Women’s Team about his continuing misconduct at a discussion held during the exposure tour to Italy.” Ambrose, a former international, was shown “necessary evidence” and “proof”, the letter states.
Dennerby and India manager Swarup Gurung had informed AIFF of Ambrose’s misconduct on June 27, according to the letter, and was told by the head coach to “cut all contact” with the team and return to India. The letter also states that Nicole Menezes, the under-17 team’s mental conditioning coach, had described a “misconduct of a serious nature” by Ambrose. The letter does not state what Menezes’s disclosure was.
AIFF says it then removed Ambrose as coach based on a clause in his contract that says it can “terminate the Agreement forthwith, without assigning any reasons..” if any of the five events listed occurs. Among them are: breach of discipline, damaging AIFF’s reputation, a criminal case being registered and “there are instances of repeated gross misconduct by the Head Coach despite repeated warnings.” The clause in Ambrose’s contract has been extracted in AIFF’s letter.
“In the light of the above scenario, it is evident that the termination email relies upon & is based on solid facts and, therefore, cannot be called unjust or one with ulterior motives.”
AIFF’s letter says that as per evidence received by it, Ambrose was “given enough opportunity to explain his actions” to Dennerby and that he had accepted “all his misdoings.” A portion of a Whatsapp text to an unnamed AIFF official on June 26 by Ambrose apologising for what had happened has been enclosed in the letter.
On contract with AIFF since June 28, 2018, according to AIFF’s letter, during which India medalled in three age-group tournaments in south Asia, Ambrose was removed on July 2 on the charge of sexual misconduct in Italy. On July 1, Ambrose was asked to present his case to AIFF in person on July 4 but had declined saying he couldn’t travel at such short notice. AIFF has also filed a police complaint against Ambrose in Dwarka near Delhi.
Ambrose sent AIFF a legal notice on July 6 describing the termination as “reckless action”. Ambrose did not respond to calls from this paper on both his mobile numbers on Friday seeking a comment on AIFF’s letter.