The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) has taken strong exception to Sunil Chhetri's remarks on the issue of National team coach Bob Houghton. The striker, on Tuesday, had sprung to Houghton's defence by tweeting in the coach's favour in his ongoing battle with the federation.
Houghton and the AIFF have been locked in a controversy over the coach's alleged remarks against referee Dinesh Nair. The referee had charged Houghton with making a racist remark during India's friendly against Yemen at Pune last October.
Houghton had denied making any such remarks. He had previously earned the displeasure of the AIFF with some of his anti-federation remarks in public on various issues.
On Tuesday, Chhetri had tweeted, “thinking and analysing everyt. that bob has done for us, in fact football in india, can't thank him enough! it ll be a shame if he has to leave N even worse, we charge him for racism, havnt seen a gentleman like him, leave behind d world class coaching n vast knowledge... sorry bob!”
The tweet by Chhetri obviously did not go down well with the football authorities in India. The federation's general secretary, Kushal Das, said in a press release, “The AIFF is extremely perturbed and concerned that National team players are making such unnecessary comments relating to AIFF's functioning and on the issue of coach Bob Houghton as well.
“The matter will certainly be discussed at AIFF's next Executive Committee meeting and action may be taken, if necessary.”
Chhetri was also among the seven players who had signed a memorandum accusing the former team manager, Pradip Chowdhury, and was issued a warning by the AIFF prior to the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year.
It may be mentioned that, at various times, Baichung Bhutia too had expressed his support to Houghton. Mr. Das stressed, “The AIFF is also in the process of strengthening the Code of Conduct for the players as well as the officials and it would be implemented very soon.”
The AIFF's meeting with Houghton on Wednesday on the issue was postponed too. Houghton's contract runs till 2013.