Bhutia wants big role of Technical Committee in AIFF

New Delhi: Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday said he wants the AIFF Technical Committee, which he is heading now, to play a big role in the development of the game in the country and not an entity that meets once in three years as has been the case earlier.

A few years back, former Technical Committee chairman Mohd. Habib had said that the panel met once in three years.

Bhutia said that he would do his best to ensure that the Technical Committee plays a big role in the betterment of Indian football.

"During my playing days, the players even didn`t know whether there was a Technical Committee of the AIFF. We had not heard of it," Bhutia said at the sidelines of an event.

"I also heard that the Technical Committee met once in three years. But I don`t want this to happen. It will be my challenge to ensure that the Technical Committee play a big role in the development of Indian football.

"The AIFF should use the services of the Technical Committee members and get benefits. And we are ready for our contribution for the good of Indian football," he added.

Other members of the newly-appointed Technical Committee are former India players Henry Menezes, Parminder Singh, and Prasun Banerjee, along with former officials Lalnghinglova Hmar and Savio Messias.

Bhutia was talking to reporters at the sidelines of a grassroot-level programme organised by NGO Magic Bus in collaboration with Asian Football Development Project, the brainchild of FIFA Vice-President Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

Al Hussien of the royal family of Jordan, and Bhutia launched the programme called "Kick for Hope" meant for underprivileged children.

Bhutia said his club Sikkim United, which is set to be relegated to second division after playing their first I-League season this year, would bounce back soon to feature in the top tier again.

"Of course, it`s disappointing that we are facing the prospect of being relegated. There is nothing we can do about it now. We did our best but it turned out that it was not enough," said Bhutia who was the face of India football for more than a decade before his international retirement early last year.

"So, we have to play in the second division and we will try to bounce back in the I-League first division as soon as possible. As far as the squad is concerned, there is no immediate plan to buy any player. But let the season end and a new one begin and we will think whether to buy new players or not," he said.

Despite the disappointment in on-field performance, Bhutia said that his club had recovered 25 per cent of its revenue.

"I think after Shillong Lajong, my club must be doing the best among I-League sides in revenue earning. We recovered at least 25 per cent of our revenue from gate tickets and merchandising," said Bhutia, also the co-owner of Sikkim United.

Asked if Dubai based company, Fidelis World would continue to invest in his club, Bhutia said, "I hope they continue to be associated with us. But they don`t invest in our club, they have members in the Board of Directors. We run the club mostly from the money from the sponsors."

Bhutia, who has played more than 10 matches for the country, said he is working on setting up an academy, most probably in Sikkim.

"I am working on setting up a football academy. Nothing has been decided as yet. But since our club is based in Sikkim the preferred place for the academy is Sikkim or some other place in the Northeast.

"But it can be in another big city, it depends on the availability of land for setting up the academy," he said.

Bhutia also spoke about the impact on some I-Laegue clubs due to the Saradha chit fund scam.

"I think there could be impact on the budget of Kolkata clubs but it will not affect clubs from other regions," he said.