Praful Patel was elected as a President Of FIFA Council Member and become the first Indian to enter this prestigious panel in the landmark development. The polls were held on Saturday in which he got 38 votes out of 46. The AIFF Chief is one of those candidates who was fighting for the seat in the election during 29th AFC (Asian Football Confederations) when Congress was there in the Malaysian Capital.
There are a total of five candidates are chosen by the federation including Patel which also includes AFC President and one female member. Expressing his gratitude towards the federation he said, “I am extremely humbled. I express my gratitude to all the members of the AFC who felt me suitable for the post. The responsibility as a FIFA Council member is huge. I would not only be representing my own country but the entire continent. Thank you all for your confidence in the rapid progress of football in Asia.”
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and senior vice-president Subrata Datta also companied the Patel. Datta said, “Mr. Patel’s victory is a “landmark for Indian football”. Congratulations to Mr. Patel. He fully deserves this honor. His leadership has taken Indian football to greater heights. Asian football will immensely benefit from his presence as a FIFA Council member.”
When Patel was heading the council, the AIFF was awarded AFC Annual Awards in 2014 in Manila and AFC Best Developing Member Association in 2016. India has also won the bid to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020. The other five members who were contested for the available five spots in the council were 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).
Actually, there were three members who were ensured by the AFC Electoral Committee following the eligibility rules on March 1. Although the numbers got reduced following which Shaikh Salman was supported by Mohamed Khalfan Matar Saeed Al-Romaithi (UAE) and Saoud A. Aziz M A Al-Mohannadi (Qatar).