Former footballer Kalyan Chaubey on Friday, 2 September, defeated Bhaichung Bhutia in the two-horse race in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) presidential election to become the new chief of the football body.
With his triumph, Chaubey became the first footballer to become the president in the 85 years of AIFF's existence.
Chaubey and Bhutia, two former footballers who shared the dressing room when they were both in their early twenties at East Bengal, went head-to-head in the battle to become former chief Praful Patel's successor.
In today's elections held in New Delhi, out of the 36 state associations in India, 34 were allowed to vote, barring Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
The result was a landslide win in Chaubey's favour as he received staggering 33 votes, with Bhutia receiving the remaining one vote.
Besides Chaubey, Karnataka's NA Haris and Arunachal Pradesh's Ajay Kipa also won the elections they contested in, becoming the new vice-president and treasurer of the AIFF respectively.
Chaubey's predecessor Praful Patel also extended his congratulations, as he told IANS "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 and wish him all the best."
‘I Will Continue Working for Football,’ Says Bhutia
Though Kalyan Chaubey was always the firm favourite to win the elections, Bhaichung Bhutia's late entry into the fray did spark a late twist. However, despite relentlessly trying to convince the state associations to vote for him, the Sikkimese Sniper could not earn more than one vote.
After the result was announced, Bhutia claimed that he will continue to work for Indian football. Following the announcement of the result, the 45-year-old said, "First of all, I want to say congratulations to Kalyan. I hope under him, we will be able to take Indian football forward. Thanks to all the football fans in India for showing so much support over the last couple of days. I have been working for football before the elections, and will continue working after the elections also.”