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Igor Stimac’s future as India’s football coach uncertain as AIFF prepare for exit talks

Igor Stimac’s future as India’s football coach uncertain as AIFF prepare for exit talks

The AIFF plans to meet with Stimac next week to tell him he can start looking for a new job. The committee set up by AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey will also work on finding a mutually agreeable solution.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) are gearing up to part ways with Indian Football Team head coach Igor Stimac, but it won’t be straightforward. The Croatian coach, who has led the Blue Tiger for over five years, has a contract that runs until June 2026, earning him around Rs 25 lakh a month. Despite previously indicating he would step down if India didn’t make it to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Stimac seems unwilling to quit now.

Igor Stimac unwilling to quit despite failing to keep promises

After India’s 2-1 loss to Qatar, Stimac assured his players he would stay on as head coach. “Stimac knows that it’s difficult for him (to continue) after the results in the second round of the qualifiers but he does not want to take the entire blame,” an insider told TOI. “He feels the AIFF didn’t do enough to support him and did not deliver on the promises that were made.”

Another source mentioned that Stimac feels poor refereeing decisions also played a part in holding India back. He specifically pointed to Qatar’s equalizer, a disallowed goal against Malaysia in Merdeka, and a controversial penalty given to Iraq in the King’s Cup.

Why can’t AIFF directly sack Igor Stimac?

Inside the AIFF and its technical committee, there’s a clear agreement that it’s time to start looking for a new coach. Hiring an Indian coach full-time is off the table. If Stimac leaves close to any upcoming tournaments—like the tri-nation series in September or Merdeka in October—assistant coach Mahesh Gawli is being considered as a temporary replacement.

“Stimac’s contract situation is the biggest stumbling block,” a senior AIFF official told TOI on Thursday. If the new contract had the same termination clauses like the previous one, we could have simply paid three months’ salary and parted ways. Now it’s much more difficult. We will have to sit across the table and find a solution.”

AIFF Techincal committee to take call soon

The AIFF plans to meet with Stimac next week to tell him he can start looking for a new job. The committee set up by AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey will also work on finding a mutually agreeable solution.

In the meantime, the AIFF technical committee will meet on Friday morning to address other issues, such as appointing a head of coach education, finalizing the format for the under-13 youth competition, and setting coaching license criteria for youth competitions. Stimac isn’t part of the agenda for this meeting.

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