ANI Photo | AIFF president clarifies his position on recent allegations against him

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey, in a letter to the top office bearers of the Member Associations and the Executive Committee members, addressed the several allegations made against him in recent media reports.
Mentioning that he has served a defamation notice to the party that has launched a kind of media trial (Advocate Nilanjan Bhattacharjee) against him, the AIFF President wrote, “I did not want to dignify them (the allegations) with a response, preferring instead to address any concerns directly during the upcoming AGM (on March 10, 2024), and clarify any doubts you might have. However, now we can all see that these allegations have been politicised and widely spread with a clear and malicious intent, not only to damage my reputation but also to destabilise the AIFF.”
Chaubey went on to highlight different points on which allegations were made against him.
IndiGo contract: The AIFF President explained the circumstances around which he met IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers. While he had initially met Elbers in his capacity as a Joint Secretary of the IOA, Chaubey had presented the idea of a partnership between the AIFF and IndiGo.
While he explained in his letter that since IndiGo is a low-cost airline that owns 62 percent of the Indian aviation market, a sponsorship deal was off the table, the airline did show interest in a marketing and promotion partnership. It was decided that the marketing teams of both organisations would hold discussions on the same, with the approval from FSDL. However, the AIFF President mentioned that the agreement has not been signed to date, and “is not in effect”.
“The idea of the partnership with IndiGo was that of barter, to promote Indian Football through Indigo’s various mediums (like outdoor hoardings, inflight magazines, social media, videos, images) and vice-versa,” wrote Chaubey. “A general Corporate 10 percent discount on all tickets we purchased was a part of the proposition.
“There is no potential financial implication or possible loss to AIFF from the arrangement and any allegations in that respect are totally unfounded and fictitious. The terms have also been approved by FSDL and there is no situation in which either AIFF or FSDL would approve a deal that causes loss rather than benefit to AIFF,” he wrote. “It is a particularly outrageous allegation, with a reputed and prominent air carrier involved, and seems to be an attempt to block the deal from going through.”
Production Tenders: Answering the questions raised about the production tenders in the 2022-23 season, Chaubey wrote that the I-League production companies were finalised after a joint evaluation between the AIFF and FSDL.
“It would be pertinent to request a report from FSDL on the technical evaluation process and as to why KPS Studio was chosen,” he wrote.
“On both occasions, Advocate Nilanjan Bhattacharjee was part of the Tender Selection and not once did he raise query on the Tender Selection and Award Process. I have asked the Acting Secretary General (M. Satyanarayan) to get all the relevant documents pertaining to Tender of issuance of work order for any purpose on behalf of the AIFF.”
Dummy Cameras: The AIFF President addressed the allegations raised on the usage of dummy cameras by the production teams by stating that he has asked the AIFF Acting Secretary-General to request the match details of the games where the dummy cameras were allegedly in use.
The Acting Secretary General has been asked to form a committee to view the recording and take necessary steps. “With modern technology, it is easy to identify the angles and number of cameras used in a match. That being said, it is difficult to understand why Bhattacharjee never brought this to anyone’s notice over the last almost 15 months, if he was privy to such information, leading to serious questions about his credibility, complicity, and motives,” wrote Chaubey.
Other allegations: Chaubey denied allegations of financial wrongdoings on various accounts, including sharing of legal retainership fees, usage of AIFF credit cards to purchase personal items, threatening Bhattacharjee’s faith, interference with judicial bodies to favour clubs, and conducting personal trips at AIFF’s expense.
“In my 30 years of public life, I have seen that the easiest way to malign someone is to call him corrupt. This, especially when the person is in public life. I would like to put on record that the allegations have no basis,” wrote Chaubey, stating that it was “planned as a motivated act to falsely and illegally malign” him.

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