Kuala Lumpur: All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel was Saturday elected as a FIFA Council member, becoming the first Indian to enter the prestigious council in a landmark development. He got 38 out of 46 votes.
The AIFF chief was one of the eight candidates vying for the spot in the election which was conducted during the 29th AFC (Asian Football Confederations) Congress in the Malaysian capital. Patel was accompanied by AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and senior vice-president Subrata Datta to attend the meeting.
“Mr Patel’s victory is a ‘landmark for Indian football’. Congratulations to Mr Patel. He fully deserves this honour. His leadership has taken Indian football to greater heights. Asian football will immensely benefit from his presence as a FIFA Council member,” Datta told this agency.
The AFC Electoral committee and the FIFA Review Committee conducted the eligibility review on all the candidates. A Al- Mohannadi (Qatar), Khalid Awad A Althebity (Saudi Arabia), Mariano V Araneta ( Jr) (Philippines), Chung Mong Gyu (Korea Republic), Du Zhaocai (China PR), Mehdi Taj (IR Iran) and Kohzo Tashima (Japan) were the others who contested for the five available spots in the council.
Earlier in the day, the congress re-elected Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa by acclamation as AFC president for a second four-year term until 2023. Shaikh Salman, whose presidency began in May 2013, was the only candidate for the position.
There were initially three candidates confirmed by the AFC Electoral Committee following the completion of the eligibility checks March 1. The number was reduced following the withdrawals of Mohamed Khalfan Matar Saeed Al-Romaithi (UAE) and Saoud A Aziz M A Al-Mohannadi (Qatar) – both of whom threw their full support behind Shaikh Salman.