The All India Football Federation’s Executive Committee met at the Football House in New Delhi, on Thursday, November 9, 2023. President Kalyan Chaubey chaired the meeting with Vice President Mr NA Haris, Treasurer Mr. Kipa Ajay, Acting Secretary General Mr. M Satyanarayan, and other members of the executive committee. Representatives from FSDL, the owners of the ISL, were also present as special invitees.
A series of decisions were taken in this meeting ranging from the Santosh Trophy, the proposal of new academies, the I-league and also the sacking of Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran from the Secretary General role by the federation. The Executive Committee also congratulated Mizoram’s assistant referee Ms. Lalthansangi on the unique achievement of passing the men’s referee’s fitness test. Apart from her duties in the women’s game, the committee hopes she will be able to officiate men’s games in future.
Here are the five key announcements made at the AIFF Exco Meeting:
Santosh Trophy name change
AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey announced the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy, the final round to be held in Arunachal Pradesh this season, which will be known as the FIFA Santosh Trophy. A team of FIFA officials will come to have a meeting with Arunachal Pradesh officials on the conduct of the tournament. The biggest of all, FIFA President Gianni Infantino will also arrive in India to be present for the Santosh Trophy Final set to be played on March 9 or 10 next year.
Another high-profile name in world football, Arsene Wenger is set to visit the country later this month for youth development plans and projects. The former Arsenal manager and now FIFA Chief of global football development will hold discussions to establish the proposed FIFA-AIFF academy. AIFF's plan is not to have only one academy but five across each zone in India. According to the board, one academy will not be enough considering the size of the nation and from there only 25 to 30 players could come out from one batch. Hence, there will be five academies spread across the country.
The third big personality in the form of Bayern Munich legend Oliver Kahn will be making the trip to India for the second time, the other being his farewell match of his playing career, to set up a goalkeeper academy. Being a shot-stopper, Kahn and Chaubey, also a former national team goalkeeper, will execute the plans to produce the future custodians for the country.
I-league matches in new places
To spread the game far and wide, the AIFF president suggested hosting some of the I-League games in cities of Jharkhand, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. The latter already has a club in the I-League in Inter Kashi, the new corporate entry this season. The plan has been approved by the Executive Committee.
The Secretary General’s dismissal approved
A day before the ExCo meeting, Dr Shaji Prabhakaran was sacked as the Secretary General with Mr. M Satyanarayan taking charge of the role on an interim basis. The Executive committee ratified Shaji Prabhakaran’s dismissal in the meeting on 9th November 2023. He was relieved of his duties by the federation citing a ‘breach of trust’ as the reason. Prabhakaran was appointed to his role during the formation of the new committee in September 2022.