Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia has filed his nomination for the post of president in the upcoming All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections.
On Friday, the legendary footballer from Sikkim submitted his candidature after his name was proposed by former teammate Deepak Mondal and seconded by Madhu Kumari, who is part of the electoral college as an eminent player.
Bhaichung Bhutia, now 45, is the most prominent name among the applications filed for the top position.
The others in the list are Kalyan Chowbey (former footballer and politician from West Bengal), Manavendra Singh (politician from Rajasthan), Shaji Prabhakaran (Football Delhi president), NA Haris (MLA from Karnataka), Eugeneson Lyngdoh (former India player and an MLA in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly), Ajit Banerjee from Indian Football Association and Valanka Alemao, the CEO of Goa-based football club Churchill Brothers.
The AIFF elections for a new executive committee will be held on August 28 and the final date for filing nominations was on Friday.
Though Chowbey and Lyngdoh are former players, their nominations are backed by state federations and won’t be fighting the elections under the ‘eminent player’ umbrella.
“I have filed my nominations as representative of eminent players. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to allow players, I hope the players can have a chance to serve Indian football. We want to show we can be good not only as players but also as administrators,” Bhaichung Bhutia told PTI.
Bhaichung Bhutia has played in more than 100 games for India in his illustrious career from 1995 to 2011, scoring 26 goals.
Former footballer Eugeneson Lyngdoh is another candidate from the northeast. He filed his nomination through the Meghalaya Football Association, and is currently serving as an MLA in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
The Supreme Court of India will make a final decision on the AIFF elections on Monday.
Earlier this week, FIFA suspended the AIFF for undue influence from third parties. The U-17 Women's World Cup, scheduled to be held in October in India, is under a cloud as a consequence.