If footballers, dancing, and reality TV seems like a bad combination to begin with, matters have taken a turn for the worse in India after the national captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, was accused by his own club of being more keen to participate in a television dance show than playing in the I-League.
In response, Bhaichung Bhutia has demanded to be immediately released from his club, Mohun Bagan.
India’s version of Dancing with the Stars, “Jhalak Dikhla Jaa", asked the country’s most popular footballer Bhutia to appear on the show, and according to most reports Bhutia’s life on the show was expected to be short-lived.
With that being the case, Mohun Bagan agreed to release their star-forward, only for Bhutia to shock the nation and progress further than anyone had predicted.
Cue the scandal.
Despite the I-League ending back in April, Mohun Bagan had arranged a series of friendlies in the offseason. But, due to Bhutia’s television commitments, the 32-year-old forward was forced to miss an exhibition match last week.
This appears to have been the final straw for Mohun, who made public a letter which they sent to Bhutia accusing the striker of lacking commitment.
Not taking the issue lying down, Bhutia responded angrily in the press, saying “I no longer have any desire to play for Mohun Bagan after all that has happened. It is good, both for me and the club, to part ways in a peaceful way. After playing for 17-18 years, I don’t need to prove my commitment. From day one, the club was aware of my schedules for the dance programme. I am extremely disappointed with this attempt to make me the scapegoat… I have been humiliated and now I feel no urge to play for the green and maroons.”
Bhutia is regarded as the player who can inspire India in the 2011 Asian Cup, having scored an impressive 41 goals in 58 appearances for his country.
Fully decked out in his football strip, footage of Bhaichung Bhutia showing off his dance moves can be seen here.