Igor Stimac v AIFF: Fight goes to street as Stimac prepares one final move

Apart from writing a scathing email accusing the AIFF of foul play, Igor Stimac has invited the media for a virtual meeting where he claims he will expose the wrongdoings of the national federation and its members.

Update: 2024-06-20 17:55 GMT

India head coach Igor Stimac (AIFF)

Delhi: Indian football is never devoid of controversies, and the latest saga of Igor Stimac's sacking by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has added more drama to an already dramatic space.

It's been three days since the AIFF announced the sacking of Igor Stimac, and things have gone haywire. Stimac has termed the termination illegal and is demanding huge monetary compensation, which might burn a big hole in the federation's pocket.

Apart from writing a scathing email accusing the AIFF of foul play, Igor Stimac has invited the media for a virtual meeting where he claims he will expose the wrongdoings of the national federation and its members.

At this moment, the whole scenario looks like a pay-per-view street fight, with Igor Stimac, like a feisty fighter from his playing days with the golden generation of Croatia, screaming at the AIFF, "Let's settle this right now."

Igor's scathing e-mail against AIFF

Igor Stimac wrote an email warning AIFF about the consequences of terminating him without mutual agreement, as the role of head coach of a national team comes under FIFA regulations.

Here are some of the allegations made by Igor:

Contract Termination and Publication:

AIFF unilaterally terminated Igor Stimac's contract without just cause, in violation of Annexe 2 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

The termination was publicly announced on the AIFF website on June 17, 2024, before any conversation with Stimac, which he finds unprofessional and unethical.

Professional reputation damage:

The public termination news has spread globally, negatively impacting Stimac’s reputation and future job opportunities.

Commitment to Indian Football:

Stimac emphasized his dedication over five years, contributing significantly to India's recognition in football.

Unfulfilled Promises and Logistics Failures:

AIFF failed to improve travel logistics, leading to severe issues such as:

Publicly announced charter flights for a crucial match against Afghanistan never materialized.

The team endured grueling 3-day travel without rest, while the Afghan team arrived well-rested, affecting performance.

Lack of Essential Training Equipment:

The team lacked GPS equipment for over 200 days, making them the only team without it at the AFC Asian Cup, despite continuous reminders.

Ignored contract agreements:

Agreements for contract extensions made with former GS Shaji Prabhakaran in October 2023 were disregarded after his removal.

Promises made by President Kalyan Chaubey in March 2024 regarding staff contracts were delayed, leaving the team without essential staff like a match analyst and sports psychologist for extended periods.

Multiple Breaches of Contract:

President Chaubey altered Stimac’s public statements to the media.

Changes to the official player list for the Asian Games were made without Stimac’s consultation, influenced by ISL clubs.

The travel arrangements for the team’s trip to China were poorly organized.

Games were scheduled without consulting Stimac, undermining negotiations with FSDL officials on the NT calendar from September 2023 to January 2024.

A scheduled press conference after the AFC Asian Cup was canceled without reason.

Health Impact and Legal Proceedings:

Stress from AIFF's actions led to serious health issues for Stimac, including the need for two stents before the AFC Asian Cup.

Stimac is involving his lawyer, Mr. Radic, to handle further communications.

He demands compensation within 10 days, as per FIFA regulations, for the premature contract termination. Failure to comply will result in legal action through the FIFA Football Tribunal.

Are both parties guilty?

While Igor Stimac has gained more fan following for his expose of AIFF, it is safe to say the relationship between AIFF and Igor was toxic, where both parties were guilty and stayed together till everything became ugly.

There have been multiple leaks in the media from the dressing room, including lineups and talks of groups. Stimac failed to handle the dressing room completely and had an ugly outburst with young Apuia.

He regularly took to social media to voice his concerns instead of talking to someone in AIFF. He was also at loggerheads with ISL coaches, with NorthEast United FC coach Juan Pedro Benali publicly calling him out for not selecting players from lower-ranked teams.

"This was coming long ago. There were few things that appalled me when it started flowing but as the administration kept mum, I also didn't speak. Both AIFF and Stimac are guilty here in this case of ruining Indian football," one of the former India internationals who has worked with AIFF in the past told The Bridge on the condition of anonymity.

Another thing that Igor Stimac has lacked is accountability. His comments in the post match press conferences sound like a tape recorder of older times blaring out the same old hymn.

"Players didn't play well, I can't do anything if players don't play; I can't go and score goals instead of them on the field."

These are some of the constant replies by Stimac in post match pressers as he finds throwing his own players under the bus everytime convinent.

Igor Stimac takes the fight to street

The only rule of The Fight Club is that you don't talk about the fight club but Igor Stimac thinks otherwise.

The former Croatian defender has decided to go all out against AIFF and has called media professionals for a virutal meet tomorrow where he plans to expose the wrongdoings of AIFF further.

He took to social media platform X to announce the meeting and wrote, "Hello my dear friends from Indian Media, I'm sure you, alike me, are stressed, disturbed and worried having seen the state of the national football over the last few months. The fans who don't know whether to cry or laugh on the situation, you have every right to know the flow of events that put us here."

He said that he will open the cards for the one last time much like a pro wrestler preparing for finishing move.

Indian football fans and stakeholders are excited for the virutal meet like fans in a wrestling arena and with Igor Stimac and AIFF in the middle of the ring. What will Igor say tomorrow is unclear but one thing is clear and that is, more drama for the Indian football fans.

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