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Bhaichung Bhutia loses the AIFF Presidential race; where does Indian Football go from here?

Former Indian football team captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, lost the presidential race of All India Football Federation against his former teammate Kalyan Chaubey in the presidential race of AIFF.

Indian football supporters in the month of August experienced an emotional rollercoaster like never before in the history of 85 years of All Indian Football Federation. It was for the first time that FIFA suspended the football federation when country was busy celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav 75th independence day.

The football supporters were unaware of the heart wrenching news that was lingering in the dark. The very next day of 75th Independence day celebrations, the heart gutting news of suspension of AIFF by FIFA, left the football fans of whole nation in awe.

FIFA suspended AIFF on August 16 stating it was due to “Under influence from third parties”.

The AIFF lost its FIFA membership rights including hosting rights of the U- 17 women’s world cup which was set to be held in October.

On August 19, after the date was fixed for the election of AIFF governing body, the Bhutia filed his nomination for the Presidential Candidate.

“I have filed my nomination as representation of eminent player’s. In the wake of the SC decision to allow players I hope the players can have a chance to serve Indian football not just as a players also as administrator”, Bhutia told PTI.

When center & SC of India were trying to get ban lifted asap on August 22, Bhutia approached Supreme Court, & filed petition for interviewing the ongoing AIFF hearing.

In his intervention petition, Bhutia emphasizes the COA’S draft constitution be finalized as the new constitution of the AIFF , as  “The draft constitution priorities & promotes the welfare”.

Bhutia also supported in favour of 36- members of electoral college of eminent player’s He said in his application that equal representation of players in General body with voting rights will give them not just a platform to voice their concerns but take them to logical conclusion.

Bhutia also said the much needed reform within AIFF & Indian Football at large amount be held at reason because of AIFF suspension or any others threats.

On August 22 in order to get the ban lifted imposed by FIFA on AIFF Supreme Court scrapped the CoA.

FIFA in press release had stated that, “The AIFF has to have a fall control over the organisation day to day operations In order to facilitate the revocation of suspension of AIFF & the  holding of the U- 17 women’s world cup,

The Supreme Court of India dissolved committee of administrator. The apex court also postponed the election by week which was supposed to be held on August 28 and reverted to an old election process granting voting rights only to representatives of the 36 members unit of AIFF. Supreme Court also quashed the voting rights of players.

The CoA was formed by Supreme Court after Praful Patel was relieved as the president of AIFF on May 18.

CoA, consisting three members, former Chief Election Commissioner, SY Quraishi, Justice (retd), AR Dave and Former Indian Football team captain, Bhaskar Ganguly, takes charge of day to day management of AIFF.

On August 22 Supreme Court dismantled the committee & handed over the daily operations back to AIFF led by acting General Secretary Sunando Dhar.

After the court dismantled the COA, Bhutia filed a Fresh nomination for Presidential Candidate on August 25, along with Kalyan Chaubey.

Kalyan Chaubey Chaubey, a former India goalkeeper, who has played for both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, is a member of the ruling BJP but what could work in his favour is that his name has been proposed by the Gujarat FA and seconded by the Arunachal Pradesh football association.

While the country’s home minister hails from Gujarat, Arunachal’s Kiren Rijiju heads the law ministry.

On August 26 FIFA lifted the suspension of AIFF FIFA lifts suspension of All India Football Federation.

The decision was taken after FIFA received confirmation that the mandate of the committee of administrators that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the AIFF administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.

FIFA and the AFC will continue to monitor the situation and will support the AIFF in organising its elections in a timely manner.

As a consequence, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 scheduled to take place on 11-30 October 2022 was to be held in India as planned.

When most of the people from Sikkim were supporting the candidate of Bhaichung Bhutia for the President of Sikkim Football Association Menla Ethenpa gave a controversial remarks stating ” Do you want meto bet on loosing horse?”

In a press conference, Bhutia had alleged Menla Ethenpa , President of his home State Football Association of not supporting his candidate for the AIFF president election.

SFA led by ment Etenpa supported Vebook Netash Alemao former Go Football Association but Alemao didn’t even come close being shortlisted as the final two contestant.

Except Menla Etenpa Chief of Bhaichung’s home State Football Chief, almost every one supported this candidate for the President position.

On September 2 AIFF hold the election for the 23 governing bodies. The highlight of the election was between Bhaichung Bhutia & Kalyan Chaubey for the past of president Candidate Kalyan Chaubey who is member of BJP won the election by 33 votes against Bhutia 1 voted & is the new president of All India Football Federation.

This was the Bhutia’s Fourth attempt to hold a major position the administration or government he first contested the election for West Bengal legislative assembly on 2016 from the constituency Siliguri & then he formed the political party Hamro Sikkim Party & contested in Sikkim legislative assembly election from two constituency Tumin Lingee & Gangtok and he lost both.

He also contested for Darjeeling lok sabha seat but lost that too back in 2014.

Bhutia’s time & again attempted failure in winning election does is sure ripping his feather of pride he cultivated in all this years.

This make the general football fans in the country and proud football lovers of the state question, “Is sports person in politics is really a good thing”? & Now where does AIFF & SFA move further?

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