September 12 – An astrologer helped India coach Igor Stimac in team selection before crucial matches last year, including Asian Cup qualifiers, according to a report in The Indian Express.
The story quotes Stimac as saying the astrologer “was recommended to me and I was convinced (by others) that I have to check upon his possible effects in sports” and it also reports that then secretary-general of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Kushal Das introduced the Croatian manager to the astrologer Bhupesh Sharma.
Das, while expressing his discomfort with the situation, said that it was paramount India would qualify for the continental finals. Das recommended the AIFF pay Sharma Rs 12-15 lakh (€13,500 – €16875) for two months’ services.
In the end, India did qualify for a second Asian Cup in a row and they will face Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria in Group B, but the saga casts doubts over how the AIFF allocated its resources.
Last year, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to the AIFF had organised a forensic audit of the Federation’s accounts under the old executive committee led by Praful Patel, a former FIFA Council member.
The preliminary report published in the summer of 2022 found that large sums of money had been “siphoned off” from AIFF funds.
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