Hailing the churning process initiated in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) by the Supreme Court as an opportunity to rectify the system, India’s most celebrated football icon Bhaichung Bhutia submitted his candidature for the president’s post in the national federation, on Friday.
Bhaichung is the most prominent name among the seven applications filed so far for the AIFF president’s post. The other names are Kalyan Chowbey, Manvinder Singh, Shaji Prabhakaran, N.A. Harris, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Valanka Alemao.
With his name doing rounds ever since the elections for a new executive committee was announced by the Supreme Court appointed CoA, the former India captain finally accepted the demand from his fraternity and submitted his candidature.
“I think we as former footballers would love to offer and also contribute to the development of Indian football. Since the time the federation was formed, I think there have been very few footballers in the administration of Indian football,” Bhaichung told Sportstar.
“I think there’s not much of a voice for footballers for the development of Indian football. It’s always been non-footballers there (in AIFF). So, this is an opportunity to serve Indian football and make football grow,” he said.
Bhaichung was hopeful that the system of governance will be rectified following the process of change initiated by the Supreme Court order and subsequent suspension of AIFF by FIFA.
“I think that FIFA suspending the AIFF was a bit of a harsh decision, but at the same time it has also given an opportunity to get the system right and make sure that all the stakeholders work and get the right people for the betterment of football and take it further,” he said.
Bhaichung said he was looking forward to the next hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday, when the future course of action regarding the election process will be decided.
“Participation of the players in the football system has not been there. A lot of the European countries who are developed in terms of structure, system, everything, have former footballers in important positions. Right now I can think of the likes of (Franz) Beckenbauer running football in Germany (2006 World Cup Chairing Committee) while Michel Platini became the UEFA head. So, there have been lots of such examples,” Bhaichung said.