AIFF executive committee member Deepak Sharma arrested for assaulting two women players

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was left red-faced after its executive committee member Deepak Sharma was arrested by Goa police for allegedly assaulting two women players.
The two footballers were taking part in the second division of the Indian Women’s Football (IWL) League and representing Himachal Pradesh-based Khad FC. The two players had claimed that Sharma, the owner of the Khad FC club, had barged into their room and physically assaulted them on the night of March 28.
Sharma is also the secretary-general of the Himachal Pradesh Football Association.
“AIFF executive committee member Deepak Sharma was called for questioning during the day after a formal complaint was received. He was arrested by Mapusa police under various sections, including causing hurt, using force against women, among others,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Sandesh Chodankar was quoted as saying by PTI.
Mapusa police station inspector Shitakant Naik told PTI, “He will remain in custody for the night and will be produced in court on Sunday for remand.”
Goa Football Association President Caetano Fernandes told PTI his association helped the victims file the complaint at Mapusa police station. The Goa Football Association was hosting the tournament.
AIFF forms probe panel
On its part, the AIFF has asked Sharma to refrain from game-related activities till the conclusion of a probe. The AIFF stopped short of suspending Sharma.
“The AIFF was formally notified by players from Khad FC, participating in the IWL 2 in Goa, of certain incidents of alleged physical assault and harassment on them on March 29,” the AIFF said in a release after a meeting of its senior members.
“The AIFF president has instructed the committee to submit a report within seven days. In the meantime, Mr Deepak Sharma, who was allegedly involved in the unfortunate incident, has been directed to step back and refrain from participating in all football-related activities until the conclusion of the committee’s process. The AIFF is also working with the players involved to ensure their safe passage home.”
Taking a serious note of the incident, India’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur asked the AIFF to take “quick” and “strong legal action” against the official.
Thakur said that the safety and security of players are of utmost priority for the sports ministry.
“The Ministry of Sports has taken a serious note of an alleged physical assault upon women footballers by an official during the ongoing Indian Women’s League in Goa,” he tweeted.
“AIFF has been directed to take quick action and ensure the safety and security of our footballers. The ministry has further directed AIFF to take strong legal action and inform the ministry about actions taken. The safety and security of players are our utmost priority.”

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