Igor Stimac's Remarks Intended To 'Malign' AIFF: India Football Federation Hits Back At Ex-Coach

Speaking after his sacking, Igor Stimac, who was the India coach for last five years, had targeted the AIFF and its chief Kalyan Chaubey and declared that "Indian football is imprisoned"

Igor Stimac. Photo: PTI

All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Monday responded strongly to former men's team coach Igor Stimac's allegations of mismanagement against the federation. AIFF, in a press release, stated that Stimac's remarks were made with the "sole intent of maligning the AIFF and showing its personnel in poor light." (More Football News)

Stimac was sacked in the aftermath of India's failure to advance to the third round of 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Speaking after his sacking, the Croat who was the India coach for last five years, had targeted the AIFF and its chief Kalyan Chaubey and declared that "Indian football is imprisoned."

AIFF refuted all allegations in its statement. “Mr. Stimac’s communication – apparently made with the sole intent of maligning the AIFF and showing its personnel in poor light – is not befitting of a professional who has served the organisation for over 5 years and was extended the full support of the AIFF during this period. This conduct has only reinforced the AIFF’s belief that the right decision was made, with just cause, to terminate his contract and move forward in the interests of Indian football,” the statement read.

AIFF also said that Stimac was provided complete support and autonomy by the federation. It said that all his demands were met except his request for a chartered flight to Saudi Arabia.

Clearing the air on the GPS comments made by Stimac, AIFF said that the remarks were made by the former coach were exaggerated.

"While it is true that the team did not have access to the GPS vests for approximately 50 days of training and match play due to their unfortunate loss in checked-in baggage, the coach’s statement that GPS equipment was not available for over 200 days is obviously misleading and an attempt to exaggerate the matter for effect."

The statement also said that the AIFF ignored "various misdeeds and negative statements of the coach over time" to ensure that India’s preparation for FIFA World Cup qualifiers were not hampered.

AIFF further said that it was shocked to know the dependence of the coach on astrologers to select the team.

"The new AIFF leadership was shocked to note his dependence on an astrologer to determine player’s call ups, team selections and took immediate necessary action to end the same. His selection of support staff had also gone unquestioned and was the subject of disquiet among many players. Despite all the support, the coach always sought to deflect blame and according to him everything and everyone else was wrong and responsible for any given situation except himself."

Responding to the comment of Stimac that Indian football's pressure forced him to go for heart surgery, AIFF stated: "The AIFF is also shocked to note from Mr. Stimac’s public statements that he underwent heart surgery during his engagement with the AIFF. He has irresponsibly blamed the AIFF for causing his heart ailment, attempting to deflect the serious matter of his not having been medically fit to render coaching services and his failure to formally disclose the same to the AIFF."

The federation also took a dig on Stimac's Indian football is imprisoned statement as well.

"It is ironic that someone who was the prime person controlling the fortunes of the national team considers that Indian football is imprisoned and has not grown. It is fashionable to blame the entire system on the way out, especially when you do not wish to take any personal responsibility."