Football
EXCLUSIVE: Banished Secretary-General demands AIFF Prez to take responsibility for funds misuse claims

EXCLUSIVE: Banished Secretary-General demands AIFF Prez to take responsibility for funds misuse claims

On 2 September 2022, Chaubey was elected as the President of the All India Football Federation after his 33–1 victory over former India international footballer Bhaichung Bhutia.

The Indian Football fans hoped for a change as Kalyan Chaubey took the helm of the AIFF. This was an opportunity for the AIFF, which has been run by politicians for the past 34 years, to put its house in order through drastic reforms.

Being a player, rising through the adversities and challenges of Indian Football itself, Chaubey was expected to understand the deep-rooted problems that plagued the sport in the country. However, things have stayed the same, if not worse.

From accusations of financial misuse to being demanded to resign Kalyan Chaubey has been in hot waters for quite some time now,and the way out does not seem any easy.

Speaking Exclusively to Insidesport.IN ‘banished’ AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran demanded the President to come forward and address the allegations. 

“It is high time Kalyan Chaubey should come and address these allegations made against him. It is his responsibility to answer to the people. He should come forward to protect the integrity of the Federation as a President.” said Prabhakaran to Insidesport.IN

Shaji Prabhakaran was dismissed from his position as secretary general on November 7, 2023, following allegations of breach of trust. He claimed that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) lacked the funds to implement Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology for national football leagues which seemingly did not sit well with the Federation, However, the actual causes behind eventually removing him still remain unknown. 

Banished Secretary-General Shaji Prabhakaran demands AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey to take responsibility after funds misuse allegation

However, the Delhi High Court intervened, issuing an interim stay on his dismissal on December 8. In a subsequent ruling on January 19, the court noted that Prabhakaran’s termination was carried out by the AIFF’s emergency committee, which lacked the authority to officially dismiss the general secretary. Prabhakaran was eventually dismissed in the latest Ex-Co meeting in January. 

So what is happening with AIFF Funds? 

Yet, the lingering question remained: what was happening with the federation’s finances? The answer did not come to light until in late January 2024, sending shockwaves through the football community.

Gopalakrishna Kosaraju, former president of the Andhra Pradesh Football Association, penned a scathing email to the AIFF’s executive committee members, alleging egregious misuse of AIFF credit cards by Kalyan Chaubey. 

These accusations included unauthorized purchases of shoes, dubious payments to KPS Studios in Kolkata, and questionable renovation expenses for an office linked to Chaubey in the same city.

Kosaraju reveals more:

Adding fuel to the fire, Kosaraju revealed damning information from Nilanjan Bhattacharjee, the AIFF’s legal head. Bhattacharjee’s email purportedly outlined six instances of financial misconduct and malpractice within the leadership group. 

These included the failure to pay dues to lawyers, irregularities in the Indigo Airlines deal, and suspicions surrounding the tendering process for I-League telecasts, among others.

Banished Secretary-General Shaji Prabhakaran demands AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey to take responsibility after funds misuse allegation

The revelations painted a picture of deep-seated corruption and mismanagement within the AIFF, leaving many outraged and disillusioned. The footballing community demanded accountability and transparency, fearing the impact of such malpractice on the integrity of the sport they loved. However, Kalyan Chaubey is yet to address the claims.

Should Kalyan Chaubey resign?

The constant accusation of malpractices along with different episodes of inefficiency from the Federation has prompted a demand for the resignation of Kalyan Chaubey.

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia and Korasaju have both demanded that Kalyan Chaubey should step down from his position, given the magnitude of the allegations against him. They have also demanded an independent investigation against Chaubey.

However, despite the outcome of the investigation, Indian football’s development seems to be a downtrodden graph for now with the immediate requirement of drastic steps.

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