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AIFF gets its 1st player-president: Wishes pour in after Kalyan Chaubey beats Bhaichung Bhutia

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday got a former player as its first president in its 85-year history, with Kalyan Chaubey beating the legendary Bhaichung Bhutia in the election for the top post in New Delhi. 

football AIFF gets its 1st player-president: Wishes pour in after Kalyan Chaubey beats Bhaichung Bhutia snt
First Published Sep 2, 2022, 3:31 PM IST

In its 85-year history, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) elected Kalyan Chaubey, a former player, as its first president on Friday. Chaubey defeated legendary footballer Bhaichung Bhutia for the top post in New Delhi.

The 45-year-old Chaubey, a former goalkeeper for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, triumphed 33-1, a result that was predictable given that former captain Bhutia did not have many admirers among the 34 voters on the list made up of state association officials.

The 45-year-old "Sikkimese Sniper" was unable to secure the support of his state association representative for filing his nomination papers.

Also read: FIFA lifts ban on AIFF: Bhaichung Bhutia welcomes move; says it's time to change system

Chaubey, a BJP politician who lost the last parliamentary election for the Krishnanagar seat in West Bengal, never played for the India senior team. However, he was in the squad on a few occasions. He, however, played for India in age-group international tournaments. He was also a former goalkeeper at both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Bhutia and Chaubey were one-time teammates at East Bengal. 

Karnataka Football Association president N A Haris, a sitting Congress MLA, won the election for the lone post of vice president, beating Manvendra Singh of Rajasthan FA. 

Arunachal Pradesh's Kipa Ajay beat Gopalakrishna Kosaraju of Andhra Pradesh for the treasurer's post. Kosaraju and Manvendra proposed and seconded Bhutia. All the 14 candidates who had filed nominations for as many executive committee members' posts were elected unopposed.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages poured in for Chaubey across social media platforms. Bhaichung Bhutia too sent his wishes Chaubey and stated he will continue working towards the betterment of football.

Also read: FIFA lifts ban on AIFF: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur calls it a 'victory for all football fans'

"Congratulations to Kalyan. I hope under him we will be able to take football forward and thanks to all football fans across India for the last couple of days, showing so much of support and encouragement. I've been working for football before the elections. After that as well I will be working," the former Indian captain said.

Former AIFF President Praful Patel too wished Chaubey on his victory. "Congratulations to former India goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey on being elected as the new president of AIFF. I am sure he will take Indian football to greater heights and glory. I extend my whole hearted support to him for the betterment of this beautiful game & wish him all the best," he said.

Here's a look at some of the other reactions:

(With inputs from PTI) 

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