Kaylan Chaubey wins AIFF election to take over from Patel in India

September 2 – Kalyan Chaubey will succeed Praful Patel as the president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) following a landslide victory over election rival Bhaichung Bhutia.

A BJP political party leader from West Bengal, Chaubey defeated Bhutia, a legend of the Indian game, 33-1 at the ballot box today (Friday) to become the new AIFF president, only the third one in the last 34 years.

His election came as no surprise after the vast majority of the state associations backed Chaubey and only Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh supported Bhutia, the second most capped player in Indian football.

The latter will have a seat on the AIFF executive committee. He said: “I have worked in football before the elections and will continue after it too.”

A member of the ruling party, Chaubey will take over from Praful Patel, who overstayed following the conclusion of his third term in 2020 because of a court case over the AIFF constitution. Patel, a FIFA Council member, is also a politician, serving in parliament as a member of the Indian National Congress, on the other side of the political aisle to Chaubey.

In May, India’s Supreme Court sidelined Patel from the presidency and appointed a committee of administrators (CoA) to run the federation on a day-to-day basis, amend the constitution and stage fresh elections, effectively bringing Patel’s presidency to an end.

The CoA deviated however from an agreed FIFA-AFC roadmap and Zurich moved to suspend India in accordance with article 14 of the FIFA statutes, a most ignominious legacy of the Patel era.

The election should hand the AIFF a fresh start, but with Chaubey’s links to the ruling party, it remains to be seen how he will restore order at the football house in Dwarka and implement much-needed governance reform.

His immediate concern will be the U-17 Women’s World Cup, which India will stage in October. It’s the second time the country will organise a FIFA tournament after the 2017 U-17 World Cup.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1664206901labto1664206901ofdlr1664206901owedi1664206901sni@i1664206901tnuk.1664206901ardni1664206901mas1664206901

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