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Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi dies; ex-football federation chief, Congress leader was 72

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, former Congress leader who had also headed the All India Football Federation, has died at the age of 72. He was in coma since 2008

football Updated: Nov 20, 2017 16:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi,All India Football Federation,Congress
Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi (R) was the president of the All India Football Federation till 2008, when he suffered a stroke. He had been in coma since, and he was succeeded by Praful Patel at the football federation.(AFP/Getty Images)

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, former All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and leader of the Congress party, has died at the age of 72. He was in coma since 2008.

A former union minster, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had been admitted at the Apollo Hospital in the national capital.

President of the AIFF from 1988 to 2008, Dasmunsi was the first Indian to serve as a match commissioner in a FIFA World Cup game.

After serving as a match commissioner at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi went on to perform the role in the Spain-Tunisia group stage game at the FIFA World Cup in 2006.

At the same tournament, he was handed the match commissioner’s role for the Australia-Croatia game in the same round. The match was infamous for a refereeing blunder by English official Graham Poll, who showed Croatian player Josip Simunic three yellow cards in the game.

Dasmunsi had also been involved with the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, and later headed the legal committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). He was also a member of the standing committee of world football governing body FIFA.

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In 2004, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi went on to serve as India’s Chef-de-Mission to the Athens Olympics.

At the time of his stroke in 2008, Dasmunsi was heading AIFF, leading to Praful Patel taking over his president.

Reacting to Dasmunsi’s death, Delhi Soccer Association (DSA) president and former AIFF and FIFA official, Shaji Prabhakaran, expressed sorrow at the news.

“I have a fond memory of working with him at AIFF from 2004 to 2008. His contribution to Indian football, especially in starting the national league, was tremendous. He gave complete freedom to coaches as well. There was never any attempt to interfere in team selections or other aspects,” he said.

Indian football great Bhaichung Bhutia hailed Dasmunsi’s passion for football.

“He was very passionate about football. He had football in his blood. He went out of his way in being supportive when I was playing for East Bengal. His passion and love for the game was easily seen by everyone,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 12:59 IST