Updated April 2nd, 2024 at 16:59 IST

AIFF Suspends Executive Committee Member Over Allegations of Assault on Women Footballers

"The AIFF Executive Committee has decided to suspend Mr. Deepak Sharma from participating in any football-related activities," AIFF informed.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
AIFF Suspends Executive Committee Member Over Allegations of Assault on Women Footballers | Image:X
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New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday suspended Deepak Sharma, an executive committee member, following allegations of assault and misconduct involving two women footballers during their participation in the Indian Women’s League 2 in Goa. Deepak Sharma, who also owns the Himachal Pradesh-based club Khad FC, stands accused of barging into the players' room and physically assaulting them on the night of March 28. The incident, which sent shockwaves through the football community, prompted swift action from the AIFF.

"The AIFF Executive Committee has decided to suspend Mr. Deepak Sharma from participating in any football-related activities until further notice," stated the AIFF in a press release, underscoring its commitment to ensuring a safe and supportive environment for women in football.

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The gravity of the situation escalated when the Goa police arrested Sharma on Saturday, following the filing of an FIR under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 354A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code.

The complaint letter to the AIFF 

In their complaint to the AIFF, the two players recounted their ordeal, detailing Sharma's alleged assault and erratic behavior, which left them fearing for their safety. The incident drew condemnation from various quarters, including Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who urged the AIFF to swiftly address the matter.

In response, the AIFF dissolved the initial investigative committee and referred the case to its Disciplinary Committee for further action. General Secretary Kushal Das reaffirmed the federation's commitment to promoting women's football in a secure environment, emphasizing the urgent need for accountability and justice.

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"The AIFF is determined to promote women's football in a safe and enabling environment and will take all necessary steps to ensure this," said Das. “The case has now been referred to the Disciplinary Committee and will be taken up emergently.”

While addressing the broader landscape of women's football in India, AIFF President Chaubey highlighted the significant strides made in recent years, including the establishment of the Indian Women’s League 2 and plans for promotion and relegation in future seasons. 

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Despite the setback caused by the incident, Chaubey reiterated the AIFF's unwavering commitment to the development and empowerment of women footballers across the nation.

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Published April 2nd, 2024 at 16:59 IST