PANAJI: For the first time in the sixty year history of Goa Football Association (GFA), elections are going to be held three months after the due date. The GFA Executive Committee headed by Elvis Gomes, in a meeting on Thursday, decided to have elections on October 28.
The elections to the Executive Committee, according to the GFA Constitution, are held within four months after the financial year. July 31 is normally the cut off date to host elections after every four years.
Despite most members of the Executive Committee wanting that the election be held on September 30, it was decided to have it a month later.
The decision to delay elections is being viewed by many active GFA members as an attempt to give GFA presidential candidate as little time as possible at the top, if he wins.
It may be noted here that elections to GFA have been postponed under the pretext of amending the GFA constitution to incorporate the National Sports Code. The National Sports Code forbids a person who has attained the age of seventy from contesting elections to the post of president, secretary or treasurer.
Churchill Alemao, who is the front-runner to the post of president, attains seventy years in May 2019. Former fisheries minister Avertano Furtado, who is the president of Association for Welfare of Elderly Sportspeople (AWES), has also thrown his hat in the ring when elections were scheduled to be held on time.
During the Executive Committee meeting on Thursday the elections were postponed to October due to two main reasons, according to some members of the Executive Committee.
Schubert Furtado, who is the brother of Avertano, was against having the elections on September 30 as Goa hosts the U-18 Women’s Nationals. “Schubert was of the honoured opinion that members would be busy with elections and hosting the ladies nationals would be a problem,” stated a member of the Executive Committee present.
“Arnaldo Costa from Curtorim asked that the elections be postponed as he had a planned fifteen-day holiday. There were some members who thought of having the elections during the first week of October but the dates were further deferred as the Colva feast was seen clashing with the dates. Elvis did not want elections on October 21 as he has a feast to attend,” stated a member of the Executive Committee present.
“The elections are going to be held in October because the Nationals are going to be held in September. We do not want a clash. I am not going on any holiday,” Arnaldo Costa told The Navhind Times.
“Let them have the elections when they want. I am ready. Even if they have elections a month before I turn 70, I will not care. They know and I know that I have the support of overwhelming clubs. The longer they delay, the bigger will be my margin of victory,” Churchill Alemao told this paper over the phone.
During the last Executive Committee meeting, the name of a retired judge and a High Court advocate, linked with football matters, was discussed for the post of Returning Officer.
The GFA appears to have had a change of mind on Thursday with the name of another advocate being discussed and his candidature almost finalised. The GFA is expected to send him an official letter appointing his as Returning Officer soon, informed sources.
Article 51(12) of GFA constitution states: “Nominations in the prescribed format shall be submitted to the Association headquarters before 12 noon on the date so fixed which shall not be less than 40 days prior to the date of election.”
“The GFA has never been taken to the cleaners as is being done now. This is the first time that such partisan politics is being brought into play during elections. Clubs are fed up of this mess being created,” said a former senior member of the Executive Committee from North Goa.