The Indian women's under-17 team's preparation for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup suffered a jolt when one of its coaches suspended owing to allegations of sexual misconduct. It is learnt from the All India Football Federation sources that the assistant coach Alex Ambrose has been asked to return to the country from Norway, where the Indian team is currently camping to participate in the Open Nordic Tournament WU16.
"Ambrose will be returning to India after misconduct allegations were levelled against him by a player of the Indian team," said an AIFF official not willing to be named.
The AIFF has acknowledged the development and has issued a statement saying that it is initiating an investigation against the alleged event of "misconduct". The AIFF statement did not specifically name Ambrose but took cognizance of the allegations by suspending the "individual pending further investigations." Ambrose will be facing the investigation immediately on his arrival. "The AIFF has asked the concerned individual to stop all contact with the team, return to India immediately, and be physically present for further investigations upon his arrival," was how the statement confirmed the news of Ambrose's alleged misconduct circulating in the social media.
Ambrose’s suspension is the culmination of a series of allegations of misconduct happening in the past. “There were allegations of some kind of misconduct on his part during India teams’ preparatory camp in Jamshedpur. There were no official reports as all the allegations were made verbally and he was left off the hook because he was apparently close to the director, national teams. This time the allegation was corroborated with facts and images that established a prima facie case against him,” said a source privy to the developments.
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“The latest incident seems to have happened when the team was camping in Italy. And the under-17 team management went through every detail to prepare a strong report against him. The report, which is now with the AIFF, apparently mentions his previous misdeeds too,” the source added.
The coach is likely to face the sack when the investigations gather momentum under the watch of the committee of administrators instituted by the Supreme Court, feels another AIFF official.
The Indian under-17 women's team is currently touring Europe as a part of the exposure trip planned by the Swedish head coach Thomas Dennerby ahead of the World Cup, which will be played in India starting October this year. Dennerby took charge of the under-17 team after India completed its AFC Women's Asian Cup campaign earlier this year.