Former Indian national team goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey has filed a petition before the Supreme Court demanding that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) hold its elections at an early date.
The AIFF had filed an application in the Supreme Court last month to allow its executive committee to hold office until the federation’s new constitution is approved by the court. The current executive committee, led by President Praful Patel, is supposed to leave office at the end of their four-year term on December 21 according to the existing guidelines under the Sports Code. However, the committee could stay on for an indefinite period after AIFF general secretary confirmed last month that they are ‘not in a position’ to hold elections in December.
This is what Chaubey has a problem with. “I have moved the SC as an ex-International player with an appeal not to extend the mandate of the current executive committee and hold fresh elections at an early date,” he told PTI. A known face in the Indian national team setup in the early 2000s, Chaubey has represented clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, JCT Mills and Salgaocar as well.
About the issue, he also added, “I have taken this step to approach the court to protect the larger interest of football and promote democracy and practice good governance in AIFF... the world is watching us very closely and the current happenings in AIFF will negatively impact the game from every side.” He has also requested the court to correct the election eligibility process which allows players to contest elections and be part of the decision-making at AIFF.
The apex court had earlier appointed a Committee of Administrators led by S Y Quraishi and Bhaskar Ganguly to draft the new constitution of the AIFF in conformation with the Sports Code. Quraishi has meanwhile refuted claims from AIFF that he had asked for more time to prepare the draft constitution. According to him, the committee had finalised the draft constitution in December 2019 itself but the listing of the case might have been delayed due to the pandemic situation.
It is completely wrong to say that we have not finalised the draft constitution. We have completed it in December 2019 and given it to our lawyer who helped us out. He [the lawyer] has submitted it to the Supreme Court in January 2020 in a sealed cover as directed by the SC,” Quraishi told PTI.