As the U-17 women’s Indian football team is all set to play the World Cup later this year, and is currently in preparation mode in Europe, the team's assistant coach, Alex Ambrose, has been sent back to India due to allegations of misconduct involving one of the players in the squad.
According to a report in the Away End, there have previously been verbal complaints that have been filed against the coach by different batches of players of the women’s teams.
The report also adds that the coach has denied any involvement but incriminating pictures and chats were found in the mobile phone of the minor.
While the assistant coach has been sent back to India, the psychologist with the team has been directed to speak with the player and prepare a report on the incident.
Ambrose was with the team on their tour of Italy but wasn’t seen in the team pictures in Norway, where they reached on Wednesday.
“An event of misconduct has been reported in the U-17 women's team currently on an exposure tour in Europe. The AIFF follows a zero-tolerance policy on indiscipline. As an initial action, the Federation has provisionally suspended the individual pending further investigation. The AIFF has asked the concerned individual to stop all contact with the team, return to India immediately, and be physically present for further investigations upon his arrival,” the AIFF said in a statement.
"An event of misconduct has been reported in the U-17 women's team, currently on an exposure tour to Europe. The AIFF follows a zero-tolerance policy on indiscipline. As an initial action, the Federation has provisionally suspended the individual pending further investigation," a statement from the CoA read.
"The AIFF has asked the concerned individual to stop all contact with the team, return to India immediately, and be physically present for further investigations upon his arrival," the statement added.
The 2022 FIFA U-17 World Cup will be held in India in October and India, hosts, have been drawn with Brazil, Morocco and USA in Group A. India lost 0-7 to Italy, 1-3 to Chile and 0-2 to Mexico in a four-nation U-17 tournament last week.
According to a report in PTI, head coach Thomas Dennerby himself was a witness to the "incident" and it was he, who immediately informed the AIFF. "After Dennerby sent a report from Europe, the CoA acted immediately and informed the SAI. The culprit was called back without wasting any time. Ambrose is also set to face criminal charges since the girl is a minor," the source said.
Member Associations Demand Life Ban
Meanwhile, condemning the incident, the member associations urged the COA and AIFF administration to initiate an independent enquiry and called for a life ban for Ambrose from the game.
"State Associations would like to recommend stringent action including legal and exemplary punishment with a life ban from football and even canceling his coaching licenses," said a statement.
State Associations also resolved to request both COA and AIFF administration to urgently appoint a Woman Safety Officer with immediate effect to instill confidence in the system for women players and women working in football, especially with national teams and also at the AIFF house in New Delhi, it added.
The member associations also placed in a "sincere request" to the administration that all male support staff be replaced with women staffers as early as possible.
(With PTI Inputs)