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AIFF sacks Secretary-General Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Satyanarayan to take over

AIFF sacks Secretary-General Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Satyanarayan to take over
Mahesh Gawli, M Satyanarayan, Igor Stimac, Shaji Prabhakaran | Source: Instagram

The AIFF has formally announced the sacking of Secretary-General Shaji Prabhakaran and have cited breach of trust as the reason behind its decision. The Deputy Secretary M Satyanarayan will take over as AIFF Acting Secretary General with immediate effect.

The AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey in his interview to Sportstar suggested there was a lot of discontentment among AIFF members over the functioning of Shaji Prabhakaran which eventually led to his ouster.

According to News9, the letter of sacking sent to Prabhakaran was signed by the President Chaubey, Vice-President NA Haris and Treasurer Kipa Ajay.

The rumblings of resentment within the ranks were lurking below the surface for a while now. Earlier this year, a five-man core committee was formed with NA Haris as its head in a move to curtail the powers of the outgoing Secretary-General. Further, KSFA General Secretary Satya Narayan was appointed Deputy General Secretary of the AIFF in July this year to add a layer of “checks and balances” to Prabhakaran’s functioning.

The timing of the sacking or rather the trigger could be attributed to Shaji’s quote on VAR implementation on Twitter.

Prabhakaran was appointed as Secretary General early in September last year by the new dispensation of Kalyan Chaubey (President), NA Haris (Vice-President) and Kipa Ajay (Treasurer). The trio won the AIFF Executive Committee elections and in their first Executive Committee meeting appointed the Football Delhi Chief as the AIFF Secretary. According to a TOI report, Shaji was initially gunning for the post of the President, but after negotiations with the current president Kalyan Chaubey, he decided not to run for elections and instead settled for the General Secretary role.

The duo’s initial period in charge of AIFF looked promising with the grand launch of a strategic roadmap for Indian football – Vision 2047. They also toured many countries and states within India to sign MoUs and build support. But over the past few months, a rift developed between the two and between the members of the Executive Committee itself leading to Shaji’s position becoming untenable.

The salary of the Secretary-General ( reportedly around INR 12.5 lakhs per month) was also a cause for consternation among stakeholders and fans alike.

The Bridge and News9 are reporting that Shaji in his letter disputed the validity of his sacking and hinted at a conspiracy.

As per AIFF Constitution, it is the Executive Committee that can only dismiss or terminate the General Secretary. Thus, this termination has no constitutional validity and approval of the Executive Committee

I must say that there must be some conspiracy behind this decision, which I am not able to understand. I must say, this is a totally irresponsible decision at a time when AIFF governance matter is still under discussion and scrutiny across.

I have worked with 100% honesty, and I have not made any decision that was bad for football in India, and it is a fact that I didn’t interfere in the decision of the Judicial Bodies for which I was pressurized.

Shaji Prabhakaran in a letter to the AIFF Executive Committee

The outgoing secretary has responded to his sacking on Twitter:

In a fresh salvo, Bhaichung Bhutia launched a scathing attack on President Kalyan Chaubey asking for “fresh elections” and indicated that Shaji Prabhakaran has been made a “scapegoat.” More on this in this NDTV news article.

This is a developing news story. More updates to follow…

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