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Bhaichung Bhutia demands fresh AIFF elections after sacking of Shaji

Former Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia has demanded fresh elections and claimed that Shaji Prabhakaran was made a 'scapegoat'.

Bhaichung Bhutia demands fresh AIFF elections after sacking of Shaji

FILE PHOTO: Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 Nov 2023 6:18 AM GMT

Former Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia has launched a scathing attack on the incumbent AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey on Thursday, while also seeking a fresh elections into the national federation.

Bhutia claimed that sacked secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran has been made a 'scapegoat' by the Chaubey-led executive committee of the federation, adding that conducting a fresh election is the only way to save Indian football.

"The breach of trust should not be on Shaji alone but all the members heading the AIFF, including the president, vice-president, and treasurer. Where has this breach happened, what is this breach everybody wants to know," Bhutia told PTI.

He cited the examples of AIFF's decision to drop out of the race to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 and also the recent chaotic build-up to the Asian Games in China, where the Indian team reached merely a day before its first match.

Bhutia said that everybody is responsible for whatever has happened but Shaji was made the scapegoat here to save their faces.

Former India goalkeeper Chaubey, who joined the ruling BJP a few years ago, became the first player-turned-president in the 85-year history of the AIFF when he routed Bhutia by securing 33 out of 34 votes last year on September 2.

The election was of significant importance since the national federation was suspended by FIFA for 'undue influence from third parties'. But the ban was lifted after the elections were held, clearing the decks for India to host the tournament in October last year.

Earlier on Wednesday, AIFF announced that it had sacked secretary general Shaji for 'breach of trust', a move described as a 'conspiracy' by the former Football Delhi president.

Shaji's sacking came 14 months after his appointment to the high-profile job, even as the national federation did not provide details on the 'breach' that prompted such an action.

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