A major controversy has emerged regarding Indian football men's team's coach Igor Stimac, who reportedly consulted an astrologer to pick the team for the crucial Asian Cup qualifier against Afghanistan in Kolkata on June 11th, 2022. Hence, it's worth finding out who Bhupesh Sharma is and his entire history.
Bhupesh Sharma is a Delhi-NCR-based astrologer, who was introduced to by Stimac by an official of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), as reported by the Indian Express. Sharma is also the founder of AstroBuddy, which is a Delhi-based online astrology platform. The particular software was launched in 2018 and aims to make science-based astrological practices famous.
In an interview with yourstory.com in August 2020, Sharma said:
"Astrology services are on a growth curve during the pandemic as uncertain times tend to bring out people’s worst fears. We saw a dramatic increase in calls as people started losing their jobs. When millions of people lose their jobs, what else do they have to discuss other than career and finances? Even on our app, we’re now doing 4,000-5,000 chat-based consultations per day with people aged between 18 to 50."
An AIFF official named Kushal Das, who introduced Sharma to Stimac, revealed that they availed his services for 12-15 lakh for 2 months. He told The Indian Express:
"Since we used his professional services for two months, we paid him around Rs 12-15 lakh. That didn’t seem a huge amount since India qualified for the Asian Cup."
Das also disclosed that the astrologer has worked for many telecom companies and served Bollywood personalities in the past.
"I met him at a meeting. He (Sharma) had worked for a lot of telecom companies and Bollywood personalities. What they presented was that astrological timings and the current phase of players can help motivate people into taking the right decisions."
It's worth noting that renowned Bollywood Director Vikram Bhatt had attended the launch of the AstroBuddy app in Mumbai in June 2018. The company is registered under Nyassa Astrocorp Private Limited and its directors are Bhupesh Sharma and Sandeep Gandhi.
Two established names fail to get a game against Afghanistan on the astrologer's advice:
According to The Indian Express, the Croatian had sent out a list of the probable 11 for the crucial game against Afghanistan. A few hours later, the astrologer replied and gave his verdict for every player. According to Sharma, two established stars, whose stars weren't favourable, did not play.
The report also states that there were about 100 messages between Stimac and Sharma in May-June 2022 and India played four matches during this period. The 56-year-old used to get in touch with Sharma before every match. With vital team information being shared with an outsider, these raise issues of propriety.