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IFA to create post to accommodate current president, West Bengal CM’s brother

Subrata Dutta, president of the 125-year-old Bengal football unit Indian Football Association (IFA), is set to be made first chairman.

football Updated: May 27, 2018 21:20 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
IFA,West Bengal,Subrata Dutta
Subrata Dutta, president of the 125-year-old Bengal football unit Indian Football Association (IFA), is set to be made first chairman. The AIFF logo is for representative purposes only. (Twitter)

For the first time in its 125-year-old history, the Indian Football Association (IFA) will create a chairman’s post to accommodate president Subrata Dutta, who will make the seemingly parallel move in July.

For this, IFA, a body with 286 clubs which conducts the oldest league in Asia and predates the All India Football Association (AIFF) by 55 years, will have to amend its constitution.

“We didn’t want to lose the services of Mr Dutta, three generations of whose family has been involved with football in India and hence the decision,” IFA general secretary Utpal Ganguly said at a media conference here on Sunday, replying to why the post was needed.

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Dutta, the senior vice-president of AIFF, has been IFA president since June 2014 after serving as its secretary from 2003-08.

The chairman will get a four-year term and could be asked to represent IFA at the national body. He will also be a permanent member of IFA’s governing body. This means Dutta’s authority in IFA would stay the same.

It is, however, subject to the IFA constitution being amended before the first meeting of the new governing body on July 2. Being chairman would also not come in the way of him being an AIFF president aspirant in 2020, said Dutta.

The arrangement seems to be a way to accommodate the wish of Bengal Olympic Association (BOA) president Ajit Banerjee to head IFA. Banerjee’s brother Swapan is BOA general secretary and also that of the state boxing and hockey units.

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Swapan Banerjee is also the football secretary of Mohun Bagan. The Banerjees are brothers of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Once appointed, Ajit Banerjee would be the first in over 30 years to jointly head IFA and BOA. He denied he wanted to challenge the sway of one family in football in the state -- Dutta’s uncle Prodyut was IFA secretary and his father Biswanath too was involved in the state football body -- saying this would instead be a natural progression for someone who has been an IFA vice-president and connected to football for nearly 50 years.

First Published: May 27, 2018 21:20 IST