Chhetri`s tweet in support of Houghton irks AIFF

Updated: Apr 20, 2011, 18:35 PM IST

New Delhi: A tweet by striker Sunil Chhetri in support of national coach Bob Houghton in the ongoing
racial abuse case has irked All India Football Federation
(AIFF), which has threatened action against the player.

In his tweet yesterday, Chhetri had expressed
disappointment that a "gentleman" like Houghton has been
charged for racial abuse (of an Indian referee) and said "it
will be a shame if he has to leave" the coaching job.

"Thinking and analysing everything that bob has done for
us, in fact football in india, can`t thank him enough! it ll
be a shame if he has to leave," Chhetri wrote.

"N even worse, we charge him for racism, havnt seen a
gentleman like him, leave behind d world class coaching n vast
knowledge ... sorry bob!."

Houghton has been accused of racially abusing Indian
referee Dinesh Nair in an international friendly against Yemen
in Pune last year and a three-member AIFF panel is inquiring
into the allegations.

Taking strong exception to Chhetri`s remarks, AIFF
general secretary Kushal Das today said the executive
committee will consider taking action against him.

"The AIFF is extremely perturbed and concerned that
national team players are making such unnecessary comments
relating to AIFF`s functioning and on the issue of coach Bob
Houghton as well," Das said in statement.

"The matter will certainly be discussed at AIFF`s next
executive committee meeting and action may be taken, if
necessary," he said.

If AIFF takes action against Chhetri, he would be the
first Indian footballer to be punished for comments on

After the AIFF issued the statement today, Chhetri
tweeted again, saying he has nothing against the federation.

"Press kaling me regarding my earlier tweet abt bob ..
alright I have nthing against the AIFF, n havnt said a single
word against it whatso ever," said Chhetri`s latest tweet.

This was not, however, the first time that Chhetri had
supported Houghton in the racial abuse case. Just after the
AIFF Executive Committee decides in February to take legal
opinion to sack Houghton, Chhetri had said that "it was unfair
to accuse the experienced Englishman a racist".

National team captain Bhaichung Bhutia had also said that
Houghton had not made any racial remarks against Nair and the
referee was making false allegations.

Houghton was issued a show-cause notice on March 26,
charging him for racially abusing Nair and for making
"derogatory" remarks against Indian football.

In the first hearing of the panel on April 11, Houghton
had denied the charges and termed them as "baseless".

The AIFF also revealed that Chhetri was one of the seven
players who had signed a memorandum accusing former manager
Pradip Chowdhury for leaving the team prior to Doha Asian Cup
in January and was then issued a warning by the federation.

Das said the AIFF was in the process of strengthening the
Code of Conduct for the players as well as the officials and
it would be implemented very soon," Das said.