After female players complain, AIFF suspends official

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | April 02, 2024 IST

Deepak Sharma

New Delhi, April 2: The Executive Committee of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) has suspended Deepak Sharma, the administrator who allegedly physically assaulted two female footballers during the Indian Women's League 2 in Goa, from participating in any football-related activities until further notice.

The AIFF also decided to dissolve the ad-hoc committee set up to probe this matter and send it to its disciplinary committee. The ad-hoc panel was set up after the Sports Ministry had taken cognizance of this matter and asked it to take steps to ensure the safety and security of female players.

In this regard, the Emergency Committee of the AIFF, comprising the President, Vice President, and Treasurer, met on Monday to discuss the IWL 2 incident in Goa and complaints received from certain players against. Deepak Sharma.

Thereafter, a meeting was held of the representatives of AIFF Member Associations on the same day late in the evening, the AIFF informed on Tuesday

Deepak Sharma was called and heard for a few minutes before he was advised to leave the meeting.

The representatives of Member Associations then shared their opinions and suggestions and it was decided to call for an emergency Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon, to determine the next steps in the matter.

On Tuesday, the Executive Committee members met, and after a detailed discussion, the Executive Committee resolved to dissolve the Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Pinky Bompal Magar, formed on March 30 and to immediately refer the matter to the AIFF Disciplinary Committee.

Meanwhile, the AIFF Executive Committee has decided to suspend Deepak Sharma from participating in any football-related activities until further notice.

Reacting to the situation, AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey said, "The AIFF is determined to promote women's football in a safe and enabling environment and will take all necessary steps to ensure this. The incident in Goa during IWL 2, should not be amplified to undermine the AIFF’s developmental efforts in women’s football. The particular case has now been referred to the Disciplinary Committee and will be taken up emergently.

The AIFF has taken all steps necessary to ensure the safe passage of the complainants to their hometowns and will continue to provide any support that might be necessary.

"This season, for the first time in history, the IWL was played on a home-and-away basis, something that has been appreciated widely. To add to it, we have also started the IWL 2 for the first time, and there is a definite plan to introduce promotion and relegation in the IWL from the next season.”

The AIFF President pointed out that the expansion of the IWL has made a huge impact; the good showing of the India Senior Women’s Team in the Turkish Women’s Cup recently is an ample example. India made their best-ever finish (runners-up) and defeated European opponents before losing to ultimate champions Kosovo by a slender margin.

In the Turkish Women’s Cup, India’s Manisha Kalyan was adjudged the best midfielder. A footballer par excellence, Manisha is a prominent Cyprus club Apollon Limassol FC, and played a big role in the club’s second consecutive First Division Women’s League title.

Chaubey said, with the support from the Ministry of Sports, Government of India, "Ninety leagues have been played in three age groups in the ‘Khelo India’ Girls’ League, spread over 23 states and 45 cities. A total of 4760 girls have participated.

“There are currently 27,030 registered women players in the country. Between September 2022 and March 2024, 15,293 women footballers have been registered in the AIFF Central Registration System portal.

“The increase in the number of women footballers in various age groups is one of the most encouraging trends in Indian Football,” the AIFF President said.

Reacting to the situation, AIFF President said, "The AIFF is determined to promote women's football in a safe and enabling environment and will take all necessary steps to ensure this. The incident in Goa during IWL 2, should not be amplified to undermine the AIFF’s developmental efforts in women’s football. The particular case has now been referred to the Disciplinary Committee and will be taken up emergently. (IANS)

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