The filing of nomination papers for the election of AIFF’s executive committee under the aegis of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) completed on Saturday, even though there’s cloud of uncertainty over the world governing body FIFA accepting the poll process.
In its statement while suspending All India Football Federation for “undue influence from third partes", the FIFA had said that it wants an “independent electoral committee to be elected by the AIFF general assembly to run the elections of a new executive committee".
It had also said that the AIFF must “carry out the upcoming electoral process as per the statutory requirements and to hold its elections based on the pre-existing membership of the AIFF" (i.e state associations only).The Supreme Court will also hear the matter on Monday after an urgent mention by the sports ministry which is keen to host the FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup in India in October.
On August 3, the Supreme Court had ordered holding of AIFF elections under the aegis of the CoA on August 28, giving 36 eminent players voting rights. But the FIFA, which was not in favour of individual members forming the electoral college suspended the AIFF on August 15.Former captain Bhaichung Bhutia was among seven people who filed nomination papers for the post of AIFF president, according to the list issued by the returning officer appointed by the CoA for the August 28 polls.
The other six are former goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey, Shaji Prabhakaran (Football Delhi president), N A Haris (Karnataka association chief), Ajit Banerjee (IFA head and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s elder brother), Manvendra Singh (Rajasthan association president) and Valanka Alemao (daughter of Goa association president Churchill Alemao).
For Bhutia to succeed, it is imperative that the electoral college is not without former players. As of now FIFA is not in favour of their presence in the electoral college. A clear picture will emerge when Supreme court resumes its hearing on the issue on Monday.
Former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal goalkeeper Chaubey, a BJP leader from West Bengal, who has unsuccessfully fought one general and one state assembly elections, will be the biggest threat to Bhutia. He has been proposed and seconded by Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh associations respectively, two states which have heavyweight BJP politicians.
Alemao has also filed nomination papers for the post of treasurer along with five other candidates — Kipa Ajay (Arunachal Pradesh), Gopalakrishna Kosaraju (Andhra Pradesh), Menla Ethenpa (Sikkim), Deepak Sharma (Himachal Pradesh) and Arif Ali (Uttarakhand).Alemao is again in the fray for the election of five executive committee members from the state associations along with 12 others, including former India midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh of Meghalaya.
The other 11 are P Anilkumar (Kerala), Avijit Paul (Odisha), G P Palguna (Telangana), Vijay Bali (Punjab), Menla Ethenpa (Sikkim), Lalnghinglova Hmar (Mizoram), Syed Imtiaz Husain (Bihar), Mohan Lal (Chhattisgarh), Deepak Sharma (Himachal Pradesh), Moirangthem Ratankumar Singh (Manipur), Mohd Shahid (Uttar Pradesh).
But, for the five executive committee members reserved for eminent players, only one — Madhu Kumari of Bihar — filed nomination papers.A former player said that there was some sort of confusion over whether the five seats for the ex-internationals were to be filled up during the elections or to be nominated later on.
“I thought the five members of the executive committee kept for the eminent players are to be nominated later by the AIFF, so I did not file any nomination paper. Let’s see later," a former India player said.Some people tracking the recent development in Indian football also felt that the remaining four seats for the eminent players in the executive committee can be filled through nomination after the elections.
The scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on Sunday and the candidates can withdraw from contest from August 22 to 24 before the returning officer Umesh Sinha puts up the final list of contesting candidates on August 25.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council had said the lifting of the suspension on AIFF will be subject to repealing of CoA’s mandate in full. FIFA also said it wants the AIFF administration to “be fully in charge of the AIFF’s daily affairs".
“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs," the FIFA had said."The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned. FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary." PTI PDS PDS