Kalyan Chaubey was voted as the new president of the All India Football Federation, the first time in its 85-year-old existence that a former player will hold the post. Chaubey, a BJP leader from West Bengal, defeated Bhaichung Bhutia, one of the biggest legends in Indian football, by a margin of 33-1 on Friday.
Known as ‘Sikkimese Sniper’ during his playing days for his goal-scoring prowess, Bhutia did not have many supporters in the 34-member voters’ list made up of state association representatives. He could not even get his state association representative as proposer or seconder for filing his nomination papers.
During his illustrious career, Bhutia made a total of 104 appearances for the Indian team, and retired from the sport as a player in 2011, with a then record 40 goals to his name.
In 1999, Bhutia became the first Indian footballer to sign with a European club, after he was roped in by English team Bury.
His career also included successful stints at prominent Indian clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Selangor and United Sikkim.
Following his retirement as a player, the former India captain managed teams like United Sikkim and also headed the AIFF’s technical committee.
Chaubey is a graduate from the renowned Tata Football Academy (TFA) and a pass-out of its golden batch of 1996. He had 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.
In fact, Bhutia and Chaubey were one-time teammates at East Bengal.
We congratulate Mr. @kalyanchaubey on being elected as the President, Mr. @mlanaharis as the Vice President, and Mr. Kipa Ajay as the Treasurer of the All India Football Federation 🙌🏼#AIFFGeneralBodyElections2022 🗳️ #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/YRwexiUntx
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 2, 2022
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.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Kipa Ajay beat Gopalakrishna Kosaraju of Andhra Pradesh for the treasurer’s post.
Kosaraju and Manvendra proposed and seconded Bhutia.
All the 14 candidates who had filed nominations for as many executive committee members’ posts were elected unopposed.
The polls were earlier scheduled to be held under the aegis of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on August 28.
But, in a verdict on August 22, the SC terminated the mandate of the CoA, disallowed the inclusion of 36 former players in the electoral college and postponed the polls by a week in order to salvage the Women’s U-17 World Cup whose hosting was jeopardised after FIFA suspended the AIFF.
The world football governing body though lifted the ban on August 26, clearing the decks for India to host the Women’s U-17 World Cup in October.
(With inputs from Agencies)