Faced with a resignation threat, the All India Football Federation is set to renew national coach Bob Houghton’s contract beyond Asian Cup in January next year.
Houghton had threatened to resign if his contract is not renewed till 2013, besides also demanding a hike of USD 10,000 per month after his current tenure ends in January 2011.
AIFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco said that with President Praful Patel’s consent and consultation with some executive committee members, the federation has informed Houghton, through his manager, its willingness to renew the contract.
“Bob’s agent communicated to us Bob’s willingness to extend his contract. After consulting the AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel and some of the committee members we have written to the agent that we are willing to renew the contract,” Colaco said.
Houghton himself is incommunicado but sources who have been talking to him said it was a top AIFF official who told the English coach’s agent that the national federation was looking for a coach after his contract ends in January next year.
That ticked off Houghton who, through his agent, informed the AIFF that he would resign if his contract is not renewed till 2013 besides also demanding a pay hike of USD 10,000 per month, sources said.
“Houghton never said that he would not want to continue beyond Asian Cup in January 2011. He has some offers from other countries but that is in future, only after January 2011.
“He doesn’t want to end up jobless after January given that AIFF was on a lookout for a new coach. If your employer is looking for another coach then naturally you will feel insecure,” the sources said.
The AIFF is a divided house and its executive committee meeting on May 7 could see some fireworks from pro and anti-Houghton groups.
“Houghton’s contract will be reviewed by the executive committee and if at all it is to be renewed some clauses will be added and it is upto him to accept or reject them,” an executive committee member said.
The controversy came at a time when the national side is to start preparation in two months for 2011 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar. India qualified for the elite Asian event after 26 years by winning 2008 AFC Challenge Cup at home.