Football Fed Officer Suspended For Alleged Assault On Female Players

Deepak Sharma, the All India Football Federation member who was accused of physically assaulting two female players, was arrested on March 30 and released on bail the next day.

Tanya Savkoor
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deepak sharma

Image: AIFF

Deepak Sharma, the general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Football Association, has been suspended from the All India Football Federation for allegedly physically assaulting two female footballers. Footballers Palak Verma and Ritika Thakur alleged on March 29 that he was inebriated when he attacked them the previous night. He was arrested on March 30 and released on bail the next day after a group of players reportedly claimed that he was innocent. The two players of Khad FC said they were 'scared for their lives' and requested that the AIFF take immediate action against Sharma. Khad FC is a team from Himachal Pradesh, which is currently playing in the inaugural edition of Indian Women’s League 2.


According to Sportstar, which has access to Verma and Thakur's complaint, Sharma attacked them for allegedly boiling eggs post-dinner time. “As the dinner was over, we were boiling eggs as we didn’t get dinner due to this reason. Mr Deepak Sharma got offended and stormed into our room slapped me (Palak) and Ritika and assaulted us physically," the complaint reads.

Goa Federation Takes Action

Verma and Thakur complained to the AIFF that Deepak Sharma had been drinking from day one of getting to Goa for the League. "From the first day, he used to be in an inebriated state," the complaint reads. A group of players, however, had claimed that Sharma was innocent. Match commissioner Sujesh Rajan took cognizance of the issue with the host federation, Goa Football Association (GFA).

Jonathan D’Sousa, the vice president of GFA, told Sportstar, "In the morning, I got a call from the Match Commissioner saying that there was a complaint. So, the General Secretary and the Match Commissioner went to the place where the girls were staying and they did a preliminary investigation. They forwarded their report to the AIFF."

Reportedly, the GFA has also reported the assault to the Mapusa police. D'Souza added, “As an organizer and as part of the GFA, we felt that we should at least inform the police that so and so incident has happened. Now, the law has to follow this process." GFA’s secretary Adlear D’Cruz said that Sharma was the only male in the all-women's contingent.

Team Manager Accused Of Defending Attacker

D'Cruz told Sportstar, “He (had) started drinking right from the time they (started travelling) in the tempo traveller in Himachal Pradesh. He was drinking openly and was the only male in the vehicle and was fully drunk right from that day until then. He assaulted both of them and three girls were witnesses. He just barged in the room and started assaulting them.”

The players also accused team manager Nandita Sharma of defending Deepak Sharma, who is her husband. Reportedly, D'Cruz testified that Nandita was responsible for the safety of all players till they got home, however, she was not present when the assault happened. Deepak Sharma said that he did not attack the girls but only pulled their hands. He also denied the drinking allegations.

Women’s Football Khad FC Assault Deepak Sharma