Amid the uncertainty over the AIFF (All India Football Federation) elections scheduled on August 28, the returning officer on Sunday rejected the candidature of Valanka Alemao and Manvendra Singh for the president’s post after their respective seconders denied having signed any nomination paper.
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 a cloud of uncertainty over the world governing body FIFA accepting the poll process.
Alemao, daughter of Goa association president Churchill Alemao, and Rajasthan association chief Manvendra were among the seven who had filed nomination papers for the president’s post.
The legendary Bhaichung Bhutia, former goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey, Shaji Prabhakaran (Football Delhi president), N A Haris (Karnataka association chief) and Ajit Banerjee (IFA head and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s elder brother) were the others aspiring for the top post.
But a notification by returning officer Umesh Sinha said that Alemao and Manvendra’s nomination papers were not legally valid as their respective seconders -- Amit Khemani and Harjinder Singh -- have said that they have not signed for any candidate.
Khemani is the president of Daman and Diu football association while Harjinder is the representative of Chandigarh unit of the AIFF.
“Whereas, Harjinder’s name is given as seconder for Manvendra Singh for the post of president and Amit Khemani is the seconder for Valanka Natasha Alemao, a candidate for the post of president, and considering that the aforesaid seconders for the said nominations are not legally valid, the nominations of Manvendra Singh and Valanka Alemao are not acceptable and accordingly (their) nominations for the post of president are rejected,” the notification said.
Khemani in an email on Saturday stated that “his name has been used by Valanka Alemao without his knowledge” and he had not signed nomination paper of any candidate.
The matter came to light after a complaint from Goa association member Jonathan de Sousa claimed that Khemani has been out of the country since August 16 and he could not have seconded Alemao.
Harjinder, on the other hand, said that he had not proposed or nominated any name for the current elections of the AIFF.
Alemao has also filed nomination papers for the posts of treasurer as well as executive committee member.
The nomination papers of former India midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Deepak Sharma were also rejected, and also that of Mohd Shahid, all three for executive committee members.
Lyngdoh’s seconder Arif Ali also seconded Menla Ethenpa as candidate for executive committee member. Since no person can either propose or second two candidates and Ethenpa’s nomination was submitted earlier than that of Lyngdoh, the latter’s candidature was rejected.
All the six nomination papers for the lone post of treasurer were found to be in order.
So, there are five candidates for the post of one president, six for one treasurer and 11 for five executive committee members. Candidates can withdraw their names from Monday to Wednesday, ahead of scheduled elections on Sunday.
The Supreme Court will take up a crucial hearing on Monday on the request of the sports ministry after world governing body FIFA banned the AIFF for “undue influence from third parties”.
The government has moved an application to the top court, making a plea to end the “mandate” of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and to start the election process ‘de novo’ (from the beginning).
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.
The SC had appointed the three-member CoA headed by former top court judge AR Dave to run the affairs of the AIFF in a May 18 order while ousting Praful Patel as president of the national federation.
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