AIFF president Chaubey refutes ex Secy Gen Prabhakaran's claims on Stimac contract extension

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) Former AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran on Monday claimed that the contract extension signed with the former national head coach Igor Stimac which did not have a severance clause, was "approved" by president Kalyan Chaubey who, however, termed the assertion as a "complete lie".

In a letter written to the AIFF executive committee members and the top brass of member associations, Prabhakaran said "the contract was signed only when he (Chaubey) approved the same".

Prabhakaran's assertion came a few days before the AIFF's EC meeting on July 20, which will discuss the implications of the sacking of Stimac last month.

With heading 'A contract clause that Kalyan Chaubey approved first and denied later', Prabhakaran said, "Chaubey, contrary to his claims, was updated at each step, and the contract was signed only when he approved the same.

"It has become a perpetual habit for him to blame all others except pointing fingers at himself.

"The fact is that the termination clause was revised in September 2022 itself when the extension was granted. A copy of the agreement is with him, but he always fails to read it before issuing a public statement." Chaubey, however, told PTI that he was in China (for the Hangzhou Asian Games) when the contract was signed (on October 5, 2023) and he was kept in dark.

"The contract extension of Stimac was completed and signed in my absence. So, what he (Prabhakaran) was saying (in the letter) is a complete lie," he said.

"He is writing the letter now because the AIFF executive committee is going to discuss the implications of Stimac's sacking in the meeting." Prabhakaran was sacked as AIFF Secretary General in November 2023 "for breach of trust".

The Delhi High Court initially stayed his ouster but later gave the AIFF EC the liberty to sack him. The case is till spending and coming up for hearing later this month.

In the letter, Prabhakaran further wrote: "The first extension was granted to the head coach based on the decision of the Technical Committee and Executive Committee and accordingly, the extension contract was drafted with revised clauses." Stimac was removed as the head coach of the team, the AIFF terminating his contract exactly a year before it was to expire in the wake of the side's ouster from the World Cup Qualifiers despite getting a relatively easy draw.

The 56-year-old Stimac, who was appointed as the head coach in 2019, was given an extension until 2026 by the AIFF in October last year.

In the absence of a severance clause in his new contract signed on October 5, 2023, the AIFF is required to pay the entirety of his remaining contract value, which will amount to a whopping Rs six crore.

A day after he got the boot, Stimac threatened to file a lawsuit against the AIFF in the FIFA Tribunal if his outstanding dues (USD 360,000) were not cleared within 10 days.

The AIFF had said that when Stiamc's contract came up for renewal in October 2023, the core committee, under the chairmanship of vice president N A Haris, met in advance and proposed that he (Stimac) "could be offered a two-year contract with a monthly salary of USD 30,000 from January 2024" and instructed the legal team to finalise the contract with a "termination clause favourable to AIFF".

"The executed contract provides for a salary raise to USD 30,000 per month from February 2024-January 2025 (as approved by the Core Committee) and USD 40,000 per month from February 2024 (2025)-January 2026 (without Core Committee approval for the said amount).

"The specific instructions regarding inserting termination clauses favourable to AIFF were also not followed before executing the contract. However, certain clauses for termination for cause were retained in the contract," the AIFF had said. PTI PDS PDS AT AT