- NET Web Desk
In its 85-years existence, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday elected a former player as its first president, with Kalyan Chaubey defeating the legendary Bhaichung Bhutia in the race for the top position.
The 45-year-old Chaubey, who played as a goalkeeper, won 33-1, an outcome which was expected, since the former captain Bhutia did not have many supporters on the 34-member voters’ list made up of state association representatives.
One of the greatest football legends in Indian history, The “Sikkimese Sniper”, and his candidacy has given the election more momentum.
Chaubey, a BJP politician who lost the recently-concluded parliamentary election for the Krishnanagar constituency in West Bengal, never played for the India senior team, although he occasionally participated in the squad. He was a former goalkeeper at Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, two legendary Indian club football powerhouses.
In fact, Bhutia and Chaubey were one-time teammates at East Bengal.
N A Haris, the president of the Karnataka Football Association and a current Congress MLA, defeated Rajasthan FA’s Manvendra Singh 29-5 to win the election for the position of vice president.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Kipa Ajay beat Gopalakrishna Kosaraju of Andhra Pradesh for the treasurer’s post 32-1 with one vote being invalid.
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.
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.”