AIFF Elections: Returning Officer finds all 20 nomination papers in order after scrutiny

The returning officer for the All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections, scheduled for September 2, on Sunday found all the 20 nomination papers to be in order after scrutiny.

The 20 nomination papers pertain to two candidates each for the posts of president, vice president and treasurer, and 14 for the executive committee members. “After conducting scrutiny of nomination forms for the posts of president, vice president, treasurer and executive committee members, all 20 nomination forms have been found correct,” RO Umesh Sinha said.

Elections are to be held for the posts of one president, one vice president, one treasurer and 14 executive committee members. Six former players four male and two women will be co- opted later as executive committee members with voting rights. Candidates can withdraw their nomination papers before 1pm on Tuesday.

The top three top posts of the president, vice president and treasurer could see straight fights between two candidates with the legendary Bhaichung Bhutia up against former goalkeeper and frontrunner Kalyan Chaubey as the presidential candidates.

The electoral college of 34 representatives from the state associations have already been issued by the returning officer. Rajasthan association president Manvendra Singh, a Congress politician, entered the fray on Saturday to contest against N A Haris for the lone vice-president’s post. Haris is the president of Karnataka FA and a sitting Congress MLA from the state.

Manvendra’s state association had seconded the candidature of Bhutia. Andhra Pradesh state association president Gopalakrishna Kosaraju, who had proposed Bhutia as the presidential candidate, had on Friday written a letter to withdraw his candidature for the treasurer’s post against Kipa Ajay of Arunachal Pradesh.

But sources said he had not filled up a form to withdraw and hence, his candidature is still there. It’s not known whether he would withdraw or not before the Tuesday deadline.

He had filed his nomination papers on Thursday, the same day when Bhutia and Chaubey also put up their candidature. All the 14 candidates who had filed nomination papers for the same number of executive committee members are expected to be elected unopposed. They are G P Palguna, Avijit Paul, P Anilkumar,Valanka Natasha Alemao, Maloji Raje Chhatrapati, Menla Ethenpa, Mohan Lal, Arif Ali, K Neibou Sekhose, Lalnghinglova Hmar, Deepak Sharma, Vijay Bali and Syed Imtiaz Husain.

Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran, who had filed the nomination papers for the president’s post when the polls were to be held under the aegis of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on August 28, decided not to stand for elections this time.

According to sources, Prabhakaran could become the general secretary of the AIFF if the Chaubey-led group wins the polls. 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 FIFA though lifted the ban on Friday, clearing the decks for India to host the Women’s U-17 World Cup in October.

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