It was a good week for Indian football when the newly formed Indian national team qualified without any real problems for the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup, but now it could become sour as it has become public that the AIFF yesterday mailed their coach Bob Houghton a show cause notice, which Bob would get in person once he returns to Goa later today.
Three key points have been mentioned in the letter due to which the show cause notice has been send out. The first one is alleged racial abuse against Indian referee Dinesh Nair, who was the fourth official in the India vs Yemen international friendly last October in Pune. After the game Nair alleged that Houghton had referred him as a 'Bastard Indian Referee' and therefore lodged an official complaint with the match commissioner. In the meanwhile the national team has send in a signed letter to the AIFF in support of Bob and against the allegations of Dinesh Nair.
Point two is India's poor performance in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and in earlier international friendlies in September/October 2010. India conceded 13 goals against Australia, Bahrain and South Korea in Qatar; which according to the AIFF Technical & Executive Committees isn't acceptable especially due to the high cost involved in the teams preparations.
The third point mentioned is the open criticism by Bob Houghton against the AIFF in the national and especially international media before and during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. The lack of infrastructure and professionalism in administration where the main points mentioned by Bob why Indian football hasn't developed over the years. And it seems the AIFF isn't happy about its deficiencies being exposed openly around the world.
Now Bob Houghton has been asked to appear infront of an four member AIFF committee on April 11 to present his own case and depending on the answers the federation would take a decision to dismiss or retain him until the end of his contract in 2013.
The writing is on the wall, the AIFF is taking the next step to try and dismiss their coach just after a successful qualification campaign. Surely one can discuss the third point of open criticism, but when you get a coach like Bob you should know that he is open, direct and honest in his views, while the first two points normally hold no ground.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming two/three weeks...