POCSO case registered against former Indian U-17 women's football coach, investigation under way

Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

The Dwarka police in Delhi has registered a POCSO [child abuse] case against Alex Ambrose, the former assistant coach of the India U-17 women's football team who has been accused of alleged sexual misconduct with one of the team members.

Harsha Vardhan Mandava, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dwarka, confirmed this to ESPN and said that the case is being investigated.

The case attracts the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) as it involves a minor and could have legal implications for various parties involved.

The alleged incident took place in June, during the U-17 side's exposure trip to Norway. Ambrose was sent back to India and later sacked by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The AIFF has not commented on the issue apart from statements when the news first broke. A statement from the Committee of Administrators, which was running the AIFF at the time, said: "An event of misconduct has been reported in the U-17 women's team, currently on an exposure tour to Europe. The AIFF follows a zero-tolerance policy on indiscipline. As an initial action, the Federation has provisionally suspended the individual pending further investigation."

Dr SY Quraishi, the head of the CoA, also confirmed that criminal proceedings had started against Ambrose.

According to a PTI report, Ambrose has denied the sexual misconduct charges and sent a legal notice to the AIFF for "tarnishing his reputation".

The notice, issued by his lawyer, called the AIFF's action "arbitrary and unconstitutional". It said: "My client was forced to admit to what he has never done by putting him under fear, duress and coercion. My client was not allowed to offer any explanation nor was my client intimated or informed about the charges/allegations/accusations levelled against by him."

The U-17 women's team will feature in the upcoming World Cup in India, which will take place from 11-30 October.

The team, coached by Thomas Dennerby, will face the USA, Morocco and Brazil in the group stage.