Bhaichung Bhutia welcomes SC decision linked to FIFA ban, wants voting rights for playerstext_fields
Iconic Indian football player Bhaichung Bhutia has accepted the Supreme Court decision to remove the Committee of Administrators in an attempt to"salvage" the U-17 Women's World Cup and ensure revocation of the FIFA ban on India.
The ban had put the Indian women's team's future in trouble. A similar concern was troubling football clubs as well. Bhutia said the court's decision is in the interest of Indian football and not for any political party. He added that the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup is a prestige issue and it is a priority.
He added that the top court should give full effect to its earlier order that 36 eminent players should have voting rights as part of the electoral college. The SC, at the moment, ruled that the voters' lists for the AIFF polls would only consist of 36 representatives of State/UT member associations as is being sought by FIFA.
The top court modified its earlier decision to facilitate the holding of the women's age-group showpiece in India in October. The Committee of Administrators has been overseeing the affairs of the AIFF since the May 18 SC order.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna postponed the August 28 elections of the AIFF which was supposed to be held under the supervision of an SC-appointed three-member CoA. The court was addressing an application filed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports seeking modifications as per discussions with FIFA.
Bhutia said the court's decision to leave out the ex-players is disappointing. "I had appealed that players should also be represented (in the General Assembly). But the priority at this moment is to make sure that the ban is revoked and the U-17 Women's World Cup is held."
He added that the players will keep on fighting and appealing to the federation and sports ministry. "The ex-footballers should also get voting rights. They can contribute to administration and decision making."
The 45-year-old former striker noted that a footballer hasn't become the president of not even a state association, leave alone the AIFF in 75 years. "The players have given their blood and sweat for the country."
He added that there are a lot of great footballers who could have become great administrators. "In future also, if you look at the players, the likes of Gurpreet Sandhu, Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan can also look to get into administration and not just coaches." He also welcomed the move to nominate six former players - four male and two female - to the executive committee of the AIFF.