The members also requested an independent inquiry on the allegations and a life ban from football for the official.
In light of the suspension of a coaching official from the Indian U-17 women’s team following allegations of misconduct by him, the state member associations have written to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and AIFF to urgently appoint a Woman Safety Officer for all women’s national teams.
The associations in a statement also condemned the “immoral action of the coach” and called for an independent inquiry after filing an FIR. “Member Associations in one voice condemn the immoral action of the coach and make a sincere request to COA and AIFF Administration to initiate an independent inquiry after filing an FIR,” said the official statement.
Earlier on Thursday, The Away End reported that Alex Ambrose, the assistant coach of the Indian U-17 women’s team, has been asked to return to India midway through the team’s Europe exposure after alleged misconduct involving a minor in the team. It also mentions that verbal complaints against the coach had been made previously by members of different batches of the national team.
Although Ambrose denied the allegations initially, the photographs and texts obtained from a player’s phone implicated his guilt. As per The Away End, the team psychologist has taken charge of preparing a report, corresponding with the minor.
The AIFF also in a statement, without revealing Ambrose’s identity, confirmed that he has been provisionally suspended and will return to India immediately. “The AIFF follows a zero-tolerance policy on indiscipline. As an initial action, the Federation has provisionally suspended the individual pending further investigation,” the official statement read. He will also be “physically present for further investigations upon his arrival.”
State Associations in their letter recommended “stringent action including legal and exemplary punishment with a life ban from football and even canceling his coaching licenses.”
They also requested the “CoA and AIFF Administration to urgently appoint a Woman Safety Officer with immediate effect to instill confidence in the system for women players and women working in football, especially with national teams and in AIFF house.” They also urged those responsible to replace all “male staff in women’s national teams with female support staff as the earliest.
Apart from condemning the events, the state associations have also expressed their no-confidence in working with the National Team department following a series of unfortunate events, starting with the mismanagement of the COVID-19 outbreak during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 in India.
“An independent inquiry should be conducted into the management and functioning of the National Team department especially the decisions and actions of the Head of the National Team Department should be thoroughly probed to establish the frequent failures including the appointment of the coaches and scouts in AIFF.”