Reacting strongly to the termination letter served to him by All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey on Tuesday (November 8, 2023), ousted Shaji Prabhakaran has challenged the action's constitutional validity, claiming that only the executive committee can dismiss or terminate the secretary general. (Football News)
In a letter addressed to the members of the AIFF executive committee, which Outlook India has accessed, Prabhakaran has not only lamented the decision but also questioned its legality.
The letter states, "I received the termination letter signed by President, Vice President and Treasurer of the AIFF yesterday, i.e. 7th November 2023. As per AIFF Constitution, it is the Executive Committee that can only dismiss or terminate the General Secretary. Thus, this termination has no constitutional validity and approval of the Executive Committee."
Earlier in the day, AIFF had announced the sacking of Prabhakaran with immediate effect due to "breach of trust". In a statement, the national football body said that AIFF deputy secretary M Satyanarayan will take charge as acting secretary general.
Prabhakaran, in his letter, added that he "didn't interfere in the decision of the Judicial Bodies for which" he "was pressurized." The 51-year-old ousted AIFF official also stated that he had always protected the institution and the game.
"I have worked with 100% honesty, and I have not made any decision that was bad for football in India, and it is the fact that I didn't interfere in the decision of the Judicial Bodies for which I was pressurized," he wrote. "You, as elected member's does (sic) have the responsibility to ask the right questions to the chair, not for me but for the good of the game. I must say, this is a totally irresponsible decision at a time when AIFF governance matter is still under discussion and scrutiny across."
Prabhakaran's sacking comes 14 months after his appointment to the high-profile job even as the national federation did not mention what the breach of trust was that prompted the action.
In a cryptic post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Monday night, Prabhakaran had hinted that all was not well within the AIFF. "We have to remain true to our game and when we have the position of power and influence then our responsibility is far higher to do our work with sincerity and dedication without any personal interests," he had written.
Today, in the aftermath of the termination being made public, Prabhakaran has reiterated his stance, with a social media post to that effect. "AIFF's decision to terminate me comes as a shock. We were working as a team. Charging me for 'breach of trust' is a massive allegation," he wrote on X.
Prabhakaran was earlier serving as Football Delhi president. He had resigned from that post and took charge as AIFF secretary general on September 6, 2022.