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Ailing Das Munshi still holds sway.

Byline: Never speak ill of the dead or somebody who has taken seriously ill, common wisdom says.

Never speak ill of the dead or somebody who has taken seriously ill, common wisdom says. Even with this in mind, one feels tempted to stick out one's neck and say that in this year of change,' the All India Football Federation (AIFF) deserved a new President after Priya Ranjan Das Munshi Eoe1/4" who is still recovering after a crippling heart attack in the Indian capital.

For those who care to keep a tab, the elections to what is the second richest Indian sports body after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have come and gone - with no signs of a change of course.

With Das Munshi indisposed, no nominations were filed for the president's post as a mark of - respect' towards him and the ailing minister was elected unopposed (Praful Patel, another powerful minister in the federal government and one of the senior vice-presidents of AIFF would continue to be the acting chief till the former recovers), while there were only a few cosmetic jugglery in other important positions.

Now, this is a case of stretching things a bit too far. Consider this, the last time AIFF saw a change of president was exactly two decades ago - when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, India's economy was still closed and one Sachin Tendulkar was yet to make his international debut! Isn't it strong enough a case to call for an overhaul at the top of this high-profile federation?

As one wishes a speedy recovery to Das Munshi, whose passion for football was never in question, it's also perhaps time to be more objective about the future of the game where India languishes in the 140-plus region in the Fifa rankings.

In a country where political influence is the key to everything, Das Munshi has done his best to bring funds into the game in terms of sponsorship and TV rights. The National League - is the best thing to have happened to the game.

Having said this, one will also have to add as to how he ran the AIFF like his own fiefdom where football often continued to play a second fiddle to his political aspirations.

While the Indian media goes in a tizzy whenever the BCCI goes to polls, the Das Munshis and K.P.S. Gills have quitely continued to hold sway over other bodies for generations.

Some things, as they say, never change in Indian politics and sports officialdom!

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 26, 2008
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