Dispute deepens over termination clause in Stimac’s contract, former legal head points finger at AIFF for ‘fiasco’

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) – The Indian men’s football team coach Igor Stimac is facing mounting pressure as calls for his removal increase. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is reportedly grappling with a dilemma over the fate of the Croatian World Cupper coach due to contractual constraints.

Stimac has come under scrutiny following a series of poor performances in the Asian Games and the AFC Asian Cup. The recent goalless draw against 158th-ranked Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and a 1-2 defeat in the return leg have added to the dissatisfaction with his coaching.

Sources claim that the current contract with Stimac, signed in October 2023 and valid until January 2026, heavily favors the coach. A crucial clause allowing termination with a three-month notice was omitted from the new agreement, leading to complications in parting ways with Stimac.

Legal experts pointed out that the altered contract terms limit the AIFF’s options for terminating Stimac’s contract. The absence of mutual termination clauses and the jurisdiction of FIFA in resolving disputes further complicates the situation.

Despite prior recommendations from the Core Committee for a contract with specific clauses, the final agreement with Stimac deviated from the proposed terms. The coach’s salary was increased without proper approval, and the termination clauses were made more intricate, hindering any swift action in case of poor performance.

Former AIFF Legal Advisor Nilanjan Bhattacharjee defended the contract terms, stating that termination clauses were clearly outlined in the agreement. He refuted claims of hefty compensation upon removal, asserting that the contract specified termination conditions based on mutual agreement or failure to meet coaching duties.

Bhattacharjee criticized AIFF officials for their reluctance to address the issue promptly. He emphasized the importance of upholding the integrity of Indian football and urged for a fair assessment of the contractual obligations.

The ongoing dispute over Stimac’s contract highlights the challenges faced by the AIFF in navigating termination clauses and contractual obligations, raising concerns about the coach’s future with the national team.


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