The ruling, deferred by the AIFF, stated that Sukhwinder would not be allowed to occupy the bench for any of the I-League matches until he fulfilled the AFC coaching criteria
In a reprieve of major proportions for all parties concerned as well as the wider spectrum of Indian football, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has adjudicated, independently, that Sukhwinder Singh, Technical Director of football for the current I-League champions Churchill Brothers, would be allowed to continue in this capacity for the remainder of the I-League season.
The issue arose when P Bhaskar, match commissioner, informed Sukhwinder that he wouldn’t be allowed to sit in the dug-out as he did not have the mandatory qualifications for such a position.
"The match commissioner walked up to me after the game and said I am not eligible to occupy the team bench. It came as a huge surprise to me," elucidated a tensed Singh.
According to an Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) diktat, all technical directors must mandatorily possess the required qualification i.e. an AFC A-license coaching badge to be eligible occupy such positions. However an earlier judgement in this regard stated that the I-League would enforce the regulations regarding the AFC licences from the 2014-15 season onwards.
"We quickly got in touch with the AIFF and they clarified that they had not authorized any match commissioner to stop me, or any other technical director, from sitting on the bench," enunciated Singh to The Times of India.
"The AFC's club licensing criteria requires that all I-League teams must compulsorily have a coach with a Pro-Licence degree from 2017 onwards. As for the technical director, he must have an A-Licence degree, or he will not be allowed to sit on the team bench or enter the dressing room from the 2014-15 season onwards," clarified Sunando Dhar, CEO of the I-League.
Other coaches too believe that this is particularly harsh, considering the level of infrastructure and experience the Indian aspect of football has with regards to quality coaching. "If the AIFF decides to stick to their stand, it will be bad news, not just for the coaches but also for Indian football. These are successful coaches and you just cannot shun them out," stated a senior coach.
Sukhwinder Singh, Subhash Bhowmick, Subrata Bhattacharya and Bimal Ghosh are just few of the coaches who could be released from their position as AIFF ramp up their bid to uphold regulations in tandem with AFC stipulations.
The major hurdle in the AIFF’s path in doing so is the fact that majorty of the coaches who appear for the coaching exam don’t clear it. Last time, when the A-licence coaching course in Mumbai, a total of seven personnel passed out of twenty four.
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