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U-17 coach Adam in the dock, AIFF investigates

Express understands that serious allegations of ‘physical abuse’ have been levelled against Adam by members of the team .

Published: 26th January 2017 01:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2017 05:47 AM   |  A+A-

Under-17 coach Nicolai Adam is facing charges of physical abuse. | Express Photo Service

Express News Service

CHENNAI: At first, it appeared to be one of those fires that was doused as soon as it had started. Late on Tuesday night, reports first started appearing online that India’s U-17 coach Nicolai Adam had been sacked.

Football fans on social media spent Wednesday morning throwing all possible insults against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for their ‘decision’ that appeared as illogical as it was out of the blue. 

‘Nicolai Adam’ started trending. Then the AIFF fired back with a press release that expressed surprise at the reports, insisting that Adam was still the coach of a team that will trot out alongside the world’s best in little under eight months. Twitter and Facebook went back to commenting on European football.

So that appeared to be it. Except it isn’t. Express understands that serious allegations of ‘physical abuse’ have been levelled against Adam by members of the team, which the AIFF is currently investigating. “There have been allegations, yes. But we are not going to fire the coach simply because some people have alleged something. We are currently looking at whatever has been said and once we complete the investigation, we will decide on Adam’s future,” sources close to the football federation told Express. 

At least four boys have reportedly complained against the coach and his deputy Etibar Nizami Ibrahimov for physically abusing them on more than one occasion. But the AIFF are keen to stress that just because there are allegations doesn’t mean Adam is in the wrong. “This is nothing new in Indian football. Sometimes the coaches are a bit too tough on the players. But we will see.”

The drama started with the U-17 team, on the way back from the Valentin Granatkin Memorial Tournament in St Petersburg, Russia, met with AIFF president Praful Patel. Initial reports indicated that Adam had been asked to step down at the meeting. But the AIFF later issued a denial. 

“All India Football Federation is surprised and denies the news report about the sacking of FIFA U-17 World Cup Team head coach Nicolai Adam. The Team which has been sent on long exposure tours by AIFF to Germany, Dubai, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Brazil, Russia amongst others would resume their practice on February 1, 2017 in Goa,” the communique issued by the federation said.

While the U-17 team has not been enjoying the best of results on the pitch, it is also understood that would not be a factor in any potential action against Adam.  

vishnu.prasad@newindianexpress.com 

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