The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday announced that it has sacked secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran due to "breach of trust", a move described as "conspiracy" by the Delhi based sports administrator.
Prabhakaran's sacking comes 14 months after his appointment to the high-profile job even as the national federation did not mention what the breach of trust was that prompted the action.
M Satyanarayan to take over
"The All India Football Federation hereby announces that the services of Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran have been terminated due to breach of trust with immediate effect as of November 7, 2023," the AIFF statement read.
"The AIFF Deputy Secretary, Mr M Satyanarayan, will take charge as Acting Secretary General of AIFF with immediate effect," the statement added.
AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey served the termination letter on Tuesday to Prabhakaran, who was appointed on September 3 in 2022 and took charge on September 6.
AIFF vice-president NA Haris told PTI that the AIFF executive committee members were also not happy with the way Prabhakaran worked.
Prabhakaran refutes charges
The 51-year-old Prabhakaran, however said the decision has no constitutional validity.
In a letter addressed to the AIFF members, Prabhakaran wrote: "As per AIFF Constitution, it is the Executive Committee that can only dismiss or terminate the General Secretary. Thus, this termination has no constitutional validity and approval of the Executive Committee."
Prabhakaran termed it as a conspiracy against him.
"I must say that there must be some conspiracy behind this decision, which I am not able to understand. You, as elected member's does have the responsibility to ask the right questions to the chair, not for me but for the good of the game," he wrote in the letter.
"I must say, this is a totally irresponsible decision at a time when AIFF governance matter is still under discussion and scrutiny across. In the end, we have forgotten our struggles and pains to reach these far.
"I have worked with 100% honesty, and I have not made any decision that was bad for football in India, and it is the fact that I didn't interfere in the decision of the Judicial Bodies for which I was pressurised."
Bhutia slams AIFF
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia also slammed the decision by saying that Prabhakaran was made the "scapegoat" and called for fresh elections.
"Shaji Prabhakan has been made scapegoat, entire AIFF team executive committee should resign and fresh elections should be held," Bhutia told PTI.