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Why Bhaichung Bhutia was removed as chairman of AIFF technical committee

Bhaichung Bhutia was replaced by former India captain Shyam Thapa as chairman of the All India Football Federation (AIFF)’s technical committee.

football Updated: Mar 24, 2017 13:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi/Kolkata
Bhaichung Bhutia,AIFF,All India Football Federation
Bhaichung Bhutia was axed as the chairman of the AIFF technical committee.(PTI)

Bhaichung Bhutia was axed as the chairman of the All India Football Federation’s technical committee following an executive committee meeting here on Thursday.

Former India captain Shyam Thapa was named in his place.

“I will first have to understand what my role is,” said Thapa, who returned to the AIFF fold after nearly 27 years. The former India striker had coached the India under-16 and under-19 teams in the late 1980s.

The committee also has former internationals Prasanta Banerjee and Henry Menezes as deputy chairman.

Ishfaq Ahmed, who played the ISL3 final for Kerala Blasters and was also ISL franchise’s assistant-coach, too has been drafted into the committee along former East Bengal and Bengal player Pradip Dutta.

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Ahmed will have to stop playing and quit his job with Blasters to take up this assignment.

The move came on the heels of Bhutia being ‘removed’ as an advisor to the AIFF president Praful Patel a few months back. According to sources, the AIFF was paying Bhutia `2 lakh per month for his services. There are allegations that during his tenure, Bhutia hardly attended the U-17 camp.

In January 2017, Nicolai Adam was removed as the head coach of the India U-17 team after players complained of physical abuse by him and assistant coach Etibar Ibrahimov.

However, Adam’s sacking was not supported by Bhutia as he thought the timing was not right.

India will host the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October and Bhutia believed that it was unwise to sack the head coach with less than a year left for the tournament.

Bhutia though has denied he has fallen out with the federation.

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Bhutia was roped in as advisor to the AIFF president two years back and was instrumental in bringing India coach Stephen Constantine back. He was also part of the committee that picked Adam’s successor along with former India captain IM Vijayan, the U-17 team chief operating officer Abhishek Yadav and technical director Savio Madiera.

However, it was alleged that the AIFF did not consult Bhutia’s panel before naming Portuguese Luis Norton de Martos as U-17 coach. A reason for ignoring Bhutia’s panel while naming the U-17 coach could be that both Bhutia and Abhishek Yadav have their football academies and as a result, there is a ‘conflict of interest’.

First Published: Mar 24, 2017 13:47 IST