Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal may throw his hat in the ring in the elections for All India Football Federation (AIFF) slated later this month as a presidential candidate, according to sources. (More Football News)
The 59-year-old Sonowal, currently holding the portfolio of Ports, Shipping and Waterways in the Union Council of Ministers and a former Union sports minister, has approached the Assam Football Association regarding a possible nomination for the AIFF polls.
But, nothing is official as of now as he is weighing the pros and cons. He is also yet to get the go ahead from his party, the BJP, according to sources. “He (Sonowal) has made an approach to the Assam FA president regarding the AIFF elections, about the polls for president's post,” a source in the Assam Football Association told PTI.
“If he (Sonowal) is willing to stand for the post of president of the AIFF, we will surely support him. But, it is not yet official. He has not told us finally that he wants to stand for the AIFF president's post,” he added.
Under the draft constitution of the AIFF, anybody who is an Indian citizen and a member of the electoral college can fight for president's post in the AIFF elections. Sonowal, a Rajya Sabha member of BJP, served as Union Sports Minister for two years from May 2014 before becoming Assam Chief Minister from 2016 to 2021.
He was earlier president of Assam Olympic Association also. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the sport in the country has already appointed the returning officer for the elections to the Executive Committee of the AIFF on August 28 after the Supreme Court gave the go ahead on August 3.
The top court has approved the time-line of the AIFF elections prepared by the CoA. According to the order of the Supreme Court, the returning officer will prepare the final list of voters comprising representatives from 36 state associations and 36 representatives of eminent football players -- 24 male and 12 female.
Nomination papers can be filed from August 17 to 19 by the candidates and delivered to the Returning Officer in person or by post. Candidates can withdraw their names between August 22 and 24. The Returning Officer will prepare the final list of candidates on August 25 and elections will be held three days later.
Counting will be held on August 28/29 and the results will be declared. The CoA comprises Justice (Retd) A R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and former India captain Bhaskar Ganguly. Some of the former players had backed former captain Bhaichung Bhutia to stand for the AIFF president's post.