October 4, 2022
Bhaichung Bhutia calls legal action an ‘option’ as AIFF turns down request for discussion on appointment of Secretary General


Kolkata:

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday said he may explore legal options after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) turned down his request to appoint Shaji Prabhakaran as its general secretary during an executive committee meeting here. Prabhakaran, who was in the electoral college as Football Delhi’s representative, was made the AIFF general secretary, a day after former India goalkeeper Kalyan Choubey defeated Bhutia 33-1 in the presidential election on September 2.

Bhutia had alleged that appointing a voter to a paid post of the federation was an element of “bargaining”. He had requested the AIFF to include Prabhakaran’s appointment in the agenda of the executive committee meeting held here on Monday.

Bhutia said, “I attended the AIFF executive committee meeting today but my request to discuss Shaji’s appointment as general secretary was turned down. I raised the issue, but they said they would focus only on the agenda. And there will be no discussion on that issue.” told PTI.

“I am very disappointed. I had made the request two-three days back but it was not included in the agenda of the meeting.” Asked whether he would take legal recourse in the matter, Bhutia said, “It is an option which I will keep. I will consult my people and decide on the future course of action.” Bhutia, 45, the poster boy of Indian football until his retirement in 2011, reiterated his allegations of possible “bargaining” in the appointment of Prabhakaran, former FIFA Regional Development Officer for South and Central Asia, as AIFF general secretary. ,

“He (Prabhakaran) was a voter in the AIFF elections, election agent of (Kalyan) Choubey and president of an association (Football Delhi). Appointing him for a salaried post is a wrong precedent.

“I wouldn’t have had a problem if he was appointed to an honorary post. Next time, people would bargain after the election to vote to get a salaried post.” Bhutia also said that the AIFF’s decision to send the Indian women’s U-17 team to Barcelona will not benefit the players. He said the AIFF should have invited other national teams to play in India before the October 11-30 age group showpieces to be held in Bhubaneswar, Margao and Navi Mumbai.

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“The weather in Barcelona is very different from India. The team is playing in the Under-17 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, a hot and humid place and you are sending players to Barcelona which is a cold place. How will the Indian team benefit from this?” Bhutia asked.

“It would have been better if some national teams were invited to play in India. The Indian team would have benefited by doing so.” She also said that the executive committee should have given more thought to the preparation for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the preparation of the national team.

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