Sacked for alleged "sexual misconduct" during the India U-17 women football team's tour of Europe, former assistant coach Alex Ambrose has denied any wrongdoing and sent a legal notice to the All India Football Federation for "tarnishing his reputation by levelling frivolous charges".
Ambrose was sacked a few days ago as assistant coach of the India U-17 women's football team over allegations of "sexual misconduct".
The notice, issued by Mumbai-based advocate Madhukar P Dalvi on behalf of Ambrose, claimed that he "has been a victim of malafides and ulterior motives and objects at the instance of and behest of the All India Football Federation".
"My client was forced to admit to what he has never done by putting him under fear, duress and coercion. My client was not allowed to offer any explanation nor was my client intimated or
"My client has been sacked and terminated from his duties in an illegal, unlawful and unjust manner without following the due process of law," the notice said.
On Sunday, SY Quraishi, a member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) which is running the sport in the country, had informed about the sacking of Ambrose through Twitter.
"Alex Ambrose, Asstt Head Coach of Under 17 Women's team has been sacked for sexual misconduct. Further action under process," Quraishi had tweeted.
Ambrose said he was not given time to refute the allegations and the action taken against him is violation of the rules of natural justice.
"My client is shocked and surprised to see the reckless action taken by the All India Football Federation is a total violation and breach of justice, equity, fair play and rules of natural justice.
"The actions taken by All India Football Federation is arbitrary and unconstitutional and is in total disregard to the Rule of Law and legal principles," Ambrose's advocate claimed in the notice.
It said the AIFF informed him via e-mail to attend a disciplinary hearing but did not accept his request to give a different date for the hearing as he had prior engagements.
"My client's image and reputation have been brutally tarnished and destroyed by the All India Football Federation by posting and publishing frivolous news/accusations against my client without making any enquiries, issuing any show-cause notice, giving him any opportunity to give his say and express his stand.
"My client has not even been intimated about the charges levelled against him.
"And without any of the above, a verdict seems to have been passed against him, punishing and penalizing him for things that he has not done at all. The above-said act of the AIFF amounts to grave violation of the basic canons of natural justice," the notice said.
Ambrose's counsel alleged that the AIFF "has been publishing false, frivolous and scandalous reports against my client and threatening and intimidating my client about serious actions including police action".
The notice called on the AIFF to "forthwith withdraw the illegal termination letter and restore the services of my client".
State officials "not happy" after meeting with CoA
A meeting between the state football association representatives and the Committee of Administrators (CoA), regarding the final draft constitution of the national federation, on Wednesday failed to resolve some contentious issues, officials claimed.
The development is worrying as a visiting FIFA-AFC team last month told the Indian stakeholders to approve a new constitution by July 31 and conduct elections by September 15, failing which the world body can ban the All India Football Federation.
A FIFA ban would mean India losing the right to host the Women's U-17 World Cup, scheduled for October.
State officials said the meeting was "inconclusive" and they were "not satisfied" with the outcome. A seven-member committee was representing the state associations.
But the CoA said it will take into consideration all the suggestions from the state representatives while finalising the draft constitution.
"We had a fruitful meeting with the state association members and valuable suggestions were exchanged. The CoA will take into consideration all the suggestions that have come so far and finalise the constitution to be submitted to honourable Supreme Court," CoA member SY Quraishi said in a statement.
"All efforts are being made to finalise the AIFF constitution at the earliest and place it before the honourable Supreme Court. We expect the AIFF elections to be held immediately after the apex court approves the constitution," another CoA member Justice (Retired) Anil Dave said.
It is learnt that there are still at least half a dozen points of disagreement between the state associations and the CoA. One major disagreement is the application of age and tenure rules to all the executive council members of the state associations.
Sources said the CoA also wants the strength of executive committee of AIFF to be reduced to eight.
It is also understood that the state associations are against the application of the age and tenure rules to its executive committee members.
"We thought the contentious issues would be sorted out in the meeting today and a draft would be discussed. But it was not like that. So, the meeting did not yield anything conclusive and we are not satisfied," a state official told PTI.
"We have the apprehension that the CoA will draft the constitution according to what it deems fit. In that case, it (draft constitution) would not be a document which came out of consensus."
He expressed apprehension that the strict deadlines set by the FIFA-AFC team may not be fulfilled in such a scenario as some parties may raise "objection" in the Supreme Court.
"We were not given any understanding how our suggestions and objections would be addressed. We have already given our suggestions and objections earlier and we thought a draft would have been prepared and there would be discussions on the draft.
"We have accepted the National Sports Code. But the proposed draft has many impractical provisions. We have to find a middle path, common ground, on give and take basis.
"But at this eleventh hour, with limited time we have, we don't know what will be the shape of the final draft constitution, where our suggestions and objections will be considered or not."
Sources said before submitting the draft constitution to the Supreme Court, it will be first sent to the FIFA, which will have a look if any statutes of the world governing body are not infringed.