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AIFF suspends EC member Sharma for alleged physical assault of two women players

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday suspended its executive committee member Deepak Sharma until further notice for his alleged physical assault of two women players in Goa.

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Two footballers of Himachal Pradesh-based Khad FC, taking part in the Indian Women's Football (IWL) League second division, had alleged that Sharma, the owner of the club, had barged into their room and physically assaulted them on the night of March 28.

On Saturday, the AIFF asked Sharma to refrain from football-related activities till the conclusion of a probe by a panel into his alleged incident. Sharma was arrested by Goa police after the host state association lodged a complaint and later released on bail.

"The AIFF Executive Committee has decided to suspend Mr. Deepak Sharma from participating in any football-related activities until further notice," the national federation said in a release.

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Before that, the Emergency Committee of the AIFF comprising president Kalyan Chaubey, vice-president N A Haris and treasurer Kipa Ajay, on Monday took stock of the complaints received from the players against Sharma.

Thereafter, a meeting of AIFF member associations was held on Monday night and "Sharma was called and heard for a few minutes before he was advised to leave the meeting".

In the complaint sent to the AIFF, the two players said, according to sources, that Sharma was mostly in an inebriated state and they were "scared for their lives".

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Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had also asked the AIFF to take "quick" and "strong legal action" against the official.

On Tuesday, the AIFF also dissolved the three-member committee formed on March 30 to probe the incident, and instead referred the matter to its Disciplinary Committee.

"The AIFF is determined to promote women's football in a safe and enabling environment and will take all necessary steps to ensure this. The case has now been referred to the Disciplinary Committee and will be taken up emergently," Chaubey said.

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"The AIFF has taken all steps necessary to ensure the safe passage of the complainants to their hometowns and will continue to provide any support that might be necessary." He said the AIFF has been at the forefront of development of women's football since he took charge as its president.

"There are currently 27,030 registered women players in the country with 15,293 registered between September 2022 and March 2024. The increase in number of women footballers in various age groups is one of the most encouraging trends," Chaubey said.

"This season, we started the IWL 2 for the first time, and there is a definite plan to introduce promotion and relegation in the IWL from the next season. India made their best-ever finish (runners-up) in Turkish Women's Cup recently and defeated European opponents." PTI PDS AH PM PM

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