Indian football to benefit from Praful Patel's expected entry to FIFA council

Patel is among the eight contenders vying for a spot in the FIFA Executive Council from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Praful Patel is likely to be elected as a member in the FIFA Executive Council.   -  GETTY IMAGES

All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel is likely to become the first Indian to be elected as a member in the FIFA Executive Council for a four-year term.

Patel is among the eight contenders vying for a spot in the FIFA Executive Council from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). 

The election will be for the term 2019 to 2023 and will be held during the 29th AFC Congress on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and only five of them will be elected.

The seven other contenders are Saoud A.Aziz M A Al- Mohannadi (Qatar), Khalid Awad A. Althebity (Saudi Arabia), Mariano V. Araneta, Jr. (Philippines), Chung Mong Gyu (Korea Republic), Du Zhaocai (China PR), Mehdi Taj (IR Iran), Kohzo Tashima (Japan).

READ: Lanzarote, Santos strikes take ATK into Super Cup quarterfinals

The AFC Electoral Committee carried out eligibility checks on the candidates running for the positions and the FIFA Review Committee conducted eligibility checks on candidates running for FIFA Council positions.

The AFC Electoral Committee will be responsible for all tasks relating to the organisation, running and supervision of the elections.

The FIFA Governance Committee will nominate representatives to monitor the running of the elections for FIFA Council positions.

Patel's election to FIFA Council will benefit India, says AIFF vice president

“If Patel becomes a FIFA Council member, the country can benefit in many ways. We will get more technical and financial support in the setting up of the Centre of Excellence near Kolkata. We will get support in the development of qualified coaches and in producing better referees of our own,” AIFF vice president Subratta Dutta said.

“India has hosted FIFA U-17 World Cup (for men) in 2017 and we are hosting FIFA U-17 World Cup for women in 2020. If Patel becomes a FIFA Council member, we will get other bigger events,” he added.

Dutta also said Patel's election to the council  could help the national team in getting more international friendly matches.

“At present, we are struggling to get opponents for international friendly matches. But the AIFF chief becoming a FIFA Council member will make it easier as India’s relationship with other top football nations will become better,” he said.

Asked if Patel has the support from the current AFC regime, headed by president Shaikh Salman, in Saturday’s elections, Dutta said, “I have no clue about that. I can only say that Patel has 90 per cent chance of becoming a FIFA Council member.”