“Sir Was Drunk”: Women Footballers Allege Assault By Official In Goa Hotel



Two women footballers of Khad FC, a Himachal Pradesh-based club, have brought some serious allegations against Deepak Sharma, an executive committee member of the All India Football Federation – the governing body of the sport in the country. According to the footballers, Sharma assaulted them in a hotel room during the ongoing Indian Women’s League 2 in Goa. The footballers lodged a complaint with the AIFF on Friday while the assault is said to have taken place at a Goa hotel room on Thursday.

According to the footballers, Sharma was offended because they were preparing food and physically assaulted them. Sharma is general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Football Association and deputy chairman of the AIFF’s competitions committee.

The footballers also alleged that Sharma was drunk when the incident took place and that he was drinking in front of them while they were travelling from Himachal Pradesh to Goa.

One of the footballers, Palak Verma talked to NDTV about the incident. “That day, I was injured and had brought eggs in my room. At around 10:30-11 pm, I was in the kitchen with another girl, preparing eggs. At that time, sir called us to his room. The other girl went to his room and she was asked about what we were doing. She told him that egg was being prepared. Sir scolded the girl and then called me in. He asked in a rude way on why I was preparing egg and if I was ‘special’.

“Sir was drunk,” she added.

“I explained to him that food had finished and that’s why I was preparing egg in the room. He was drunk that time. He told me to throw away the eggs. I started crying and came to my room and banged the door. On hearing that, sir rushed to the room and without knocking entered the room. He came and physically assaulted me. My roommate stopped him and then he went away.

“After that her wife, who is also the manager of the club, Nandita came and pressurised us. She told us that we don’t have any sanskaar. We have lodged complaint with GFA and AIFF. They came for investigation. They told Sharma to give a written letter saying, we would not be harmed. My age is 21 years. We are being pressurised to take away our complaint.”

Palak added she has not been able to sleep after the incident. They haven’t been able to play also as they are not in the right mental frame.

Talking about the incident, Jonathan D’Sousa, GFA vice-president said: “After receiving the complaint, I met the parties. A report will be sent to the AIFF for necessary action. I went to the hotel at night too and I felt that from the GFA’s perspective, it was important to lodge a police complaint. But our role was limited as we are not the victims and can’t file FIR. But we have forwarded the complaint of the girl to the police and intimated them about the incident to ensure safety of the girls.

“Miss Valenka Alemao (head of AIFF women’s football committee) also met the girls. She took the girls inside a room where no other person was present. We hope the girls get justice.”

Deepak Sharma has been called for questioning at the Mapusa police station based on the complaint by Goa Football Association. AIFF is yet to react on the whole issue.

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