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Credibility At Stake – Ex-General Secretary Kushal Das Rues 'Mess' In AIFF

"I have never seen anything like this before in my 12-year tenure," Kushal Das said.

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Kushal Das, the former general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), who oversaw the activities of Indian football for over a decade, has expressed shock over the recent developments in the game’s governing body.

Speaking to IANS, Das said, “I am shocked, surprised and at the same time saddened by what is happening in the Federation. I have worked in the AIFF for 12 years, and I have never seen anything like this before.”

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Das’ remarks came after the now-removed legal advisor to AIFF, Nilanjan Bhattacharjee, levelled serious corruption allegations against federation president Kalyan Chaubey, which led to Bhattacharjee’s sacking on Tuesday.

The allegations followed the sacking of AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran in November last year due to "breach of trust", a decision on which the Delhi High Court put a temporary stay earlier this year.

“I have heard of differences among elected members in other federations, but this is a direct confrontation between senior employees and the President, involving allegations of large-scale corruption.

“For the sake of football, I hope a proper solution is arrived at before it destroys the credibility of the AIFF completely,” Das told IANS.

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Kushal Das Calls Kalyan Chaubey-Shaji Prabhakaran Duo Inexperienced

In fact, it was the duo of Chaubey and Prabhakaran who had opened a new chapter in the AIFF after the former became the first ex-player to get elected as the Federation President.

The duo started work raising new hope with lots of promises before suddenly all hell broke loose.

Terming the duo as ‘inexperienced’, Das said they should have built up on the existing structure rather than trying to bring about a sea change.

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“I think it was impractical to expect two people with no experience of running an organisation to bring about radical changes in a complex environment, in which the AIFF operates. In fact, there was no need for a big change.

“AIFF was fully functional with all departments properly manned and as the former CEO, I can say that all the departments had the right manpower, experience, capability, and competence to deal effectively with all the complexities,” Das told IANS.

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President Bound To Address Serious Allegations: Kushal Das

Asked if these charges and counter-charges are impacting the performance of the men’s football team, Das said he sincerely hopes that India does well in the upcoming qualifiers.

“I have read that the coach and the president do not communicate. With all that is happening in the AIFF, the morale of the national team is bound to be impacted and so will the performance. But I sincerely hope that India does well in the upcoming qualifiers in March,” he said.

⁠Though Das termed the allegations of corruption levelled against Chaubey and the treasurer as serious, he left it to the member associations take a call on it.

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“Serious allegations of corruption have been levelled against the president and treasurer by the former legal head (Bhattacharjee) as well as a former president of Andhra Pradesh Football Association (Gopalakrishna Kosaraju) with documentary proof."

“The president and the executive committee are duty-bound to address such allegations. The president as well as the executive committee is elected by the member associations, and it’s really up to them to decide whether the president should continue,” Das concluded.

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