Srinagar: Former West Bengal footballer Kalyan Chaubey has defeated former Indian Football team skipper Bhaichung Bhutia to be elected as All Indiana Football Federation (AIFF) President.
It is first time in the history of the AIFF that a footballer would be heading the football governing body of India.
Chaubey, who played as a goalkeeper, won 33-1, a result that was expected.
Chaubey, a BJP politician who lost the last parliamentary election for the Krishnanagar seat in West Bengal, never played for the India senior team though he was in the squad on few occasions.
He, however, played for India in age-group international tournaments. He was also a former goalkeeper at Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, both heavyweights in Indian club football with a rich legacy.
Karnataka Football Association president N A Haris, a sitting Congress MLA, won the election for the lone post of vice president, beating Manvendra Singh of Rajasthan FA 29-5.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Kipa Ajay beat Gopalakrishna Kosaraju of Andhra Pradesh for the treasurer’s post 32-1 with one vote being invalid.
All the 14 candidates who had filed nominations for as many executive committee members’ posts were elected unopposed.
In his first reactions after the polls, Bhutia said, “I will keep working for the betterment of Indian football in future. Congratulations to Kalyan, I hope he will take Indian football forward.
“Thanks to all football fans across India for showing supporting me so much. I’ve been working for football before the elections, and will continue to do the same. Yes, I’m there in executive committee.”
The elections of the AIFF office bearers brought to an end a sordid saga which saw the ouster of former president Praful Patel for failing to hold polls due in December 2020, the formation of the Committee of Administrators and its ensuing removal by the Supreme Court, and the suspension of India by world football governing body FIFA for “undue influence from third parties”.
The new executive committee comprises G P Palguna, Avijit Paul, P Anilkumar, Valanka Natasha Alemao, Maloji Raje Chhatrapati, Menla Ethenpa, Mohan Lal, Arif Ali, K Neibou Sekhose, Lalnghinglova Hmar, Deepak Sharma, Vijay Bali and Syed Imtiaz Husain.
Bhutia, I M Vijayan, Shabbir Ali and Climax Lawrence will be in the EC as players’ representatives.