Houghton quits as national coach, AIFF denies

National coach Bob Houghton quit following a tiff with the AIFF over the extension of his contract.

New Delhi: National coach Bob Houghton has quit following a tiff with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) over the extension of his contract, according to sources.

“Bob has sent his resignation on Saturday and has given three months’ notice,” a source told reporters on condition of anonymity.

AIFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco, however, denied that the Englishman has put in his papers.

“It is not true. There is nothing like that as yet,” he said.

Colaco had only yesterday said that the AIFF had written to Houghton’s agent that the federation was willing to extend his contract beyond the Asian Cup to be held in Qatar in January next year.

“Bob’s agent communicated to us Bob’s willingness to extend his contract. After consulting AIFF President Praful Patel and some of the committee members we have written to the agent that we are willing to renew the contract,” Colaco had said.

Houghton had threatened to resign if his contract was not renewed till 2013, besides demanding a hike of USD 10,000 per month after his current tenure ends in January 2011. The coach was apparently ticked off by the fact that AIFF was looking for a new coach.

Sources close to Houghton, who reportedly is earning USD 2,40,000 per year as salary, said it was a top AIFF official who told the English coach’s agent that it was looking for a coach after his contract ends in January next year.

A miffed Houghton, through his agent, informed the AIFF that he would resign if his contract was not renewed till 2013.

Other officials of the AIFF felt that Houghton has been doing all sorts of pressure tactics to get what he wanted.

“He has been getting so many things what other coaches have not got in the past. He has been using pressure tactics for some time,” a top AIFF official said.

AIFF President Praful Patel vehemently denied that Houghton had resigned and insisted that it was just a speculation.

“He has not resigned. We have not got his resignation, why are you speculating? He is still the India football coach,” Patel said when contacted.

Asked if he would ask Houghton to reconsider his decision if he had resigned, Patel said, “He has not resigned at the first place and where is the question of asking him to reconsider? That is hypothetical.”