The Igor Stimac vs AIFF battle has intensified after the Croatian was sacked following the Indian football team’s exit in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers. 

Igor Stimac was removed from his post with immediate effect as it ended his five-year tenure as the Indian football team head coach.

A 1998 FIFA World Cup bronze medal winner, Igor Stimac was appointed India’s head coach in May 2019 after the departure of former head coach Stephen Constantine.

Under his tutelage, India registered 19 wins, 14 draws and suffered 20 defeats. The Blue Tigers recorded a win percentage of just 35.8%, having scored 71 goals while they conceded 76.

Stimac guided India to four major trophies, including two SAFF Championships, one Intercontinental Cup and a Tri-Nations Series.

After his sacking, Igor Stimac and the AIFF have been involved in a war of words. Here’s everything you need to know about Igor Stimac vs AIFF.

Igor Stimac vs AIFF: Who said what

Igor Stimac later responded to his termination by the AIFF as illegal and also demanded huge monetary compensation. The former India head coach also accused the AIFF of foul play in an explosive mail. 

Apart from writing a scathing email, Stimac later also participated in a virtual meeting with the media where he lashed out at the AIFF with several allegations.

Few days later, the AIFF officially responded to his recent statements, clarifying the reasons behind the termination of his contract. 

India’s football governing body accused Stimac of attempting to tarnish the federation and its personnel. AIFF further stated that his conduct over recent months has only reinforced the decision to part ways.

The AIFF also denied his allegations that he was not given access to any AIFF officials and had several in-person and virtual interactions with president Kalyan Chaubey during his tenure.

“The AIFF President had 5 meetings with him in 18 months (Kolkata National Camp – September 2022; Bengaluru SAFF Championship – July 2023; Hangzhou(China) – September 2023; Kolkata – March 2024 and Guwahati – March 2024). Mr. Stimac was never denied access to any AIFF official, and had several virtual and telephonic conversations with them during his tenure,” AIFF stated.

Earlier, Stimac accused the AIFF for not providing the GPS equipment for over 200 days to which the governing body responded to being misleading and an attempt to exaggerate the matter for effect.

The AIFF further addressed that Stimac was given full autonomy to function, including selections of venues, support staff, choice of travel days as per his communication with the Team Manager.

The AIFF stated that various players who had brought their concerns regarding Mr. Stimac’s coaching style and tactics to the attention of the governing body on multiple occasions.

The Indian football governing body was also appalled by Stimac’s dependence on an astrologer to decide player’s call up and team selections.

“The new AIFF leadership was shocked to note his dependence on an astrologer to determine player’s call ups, team selections and took immediate necessary action to end the same,” the AIFF added in the statement.

Despite all the support, the coach always sought to deflect blame and according to him everything and everyone else was wrong and responsible for any given situation except himself.

Furthermore, the AIFF also went on to reveal that Stimac’s public statements about undergoing heart surgery during his tenure as head coach of India was misleading. 

AIFF stated that Stimac irresponsibly blamed them for causing his heart ailment in an attempt to deflect the serious matter of him not being physically fit to be a coach. 

They also mentioned that the former Croatian international didn’t formally disclose the seriousness of his physical condition prior to being appointed as head coach by the AIFF.

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