In another shameful incident concerning Indian football, officials of the ruling Tamil Nadu Football Association and the group seeking to overthrow them, almost came to blows after the latter barged into the TFA office in Chennai, demanding the keys to be handed over to them.
Thanks to the ugly face-off, the TFA office premises at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium has now been handed over to the stadium authority -- Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.
A group led by former AIFF vice-president C R Viswanath and TFA's current senior vice-president N Balasubramani, on the basis of a court order, entered the TFA premises yesterday, asking general secretary Feroz Khan to hand over the office to them.
Senior TFA officials of the present regime claimed that they had to file a police complaint after things went out of control, following which Balasubramani and his group did the same.
"There were police complaints from both sides. Things went out of control after they pushed the general secretary, took the main key, stole check books and some files. It was like a house arrest for us," a senior TFA official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
"They said that the office belonged to them. And Mr Viswanath kept on saying that he had the court order but when he was asked to show it he couldn't," another TFA official said.
Current president Seeni Mohaideen, who is abroad, was informed and he immediately summoned the TFA lawyers and his personal lawyer to handle the situation.
The TFA official said that the first court order is in favour of Mohaideen -- there is a second order that apparently supports the Viswanath-led group.
The office is closed now and the SDAT will hand over the stadium as per the directive of the All India Football Federation, though it was learnt that the matter has also been reported to the banned Indian Olympic Association.
According to Viswanath, the office is theirs in keeping with the decision taken by the Annual General Body meeting held at Dindigul last December.
"12 out of the 16 districts under TFA had voted in favour of the 'no confidence' motion against Mohaideen. After that, Balasubramani was elected as president in charge to look after the affairs pending the election of a new president," Viswanath said.
Viswanath also rubbished allegations that of stealing "check books and files" inside the TFA office.
"Nothing of that sort had happened there. It is a complete false," he said.
The legal wrangling in TFA also had its impact on the AIFF elections as due to a stay order that Viswanath obtained from the Tamil Nadu High Court, the AIFF withheld the name of the executive committee member from south zone. In this case, the 36-year-old Mohaideen was supposed to be the exco member from south.