In yet another example of politicians controlling sports bodies, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who is late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s grandson and party president Uddhav Thackeray’s son, has been appointed as the chairman of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA).
Like Uddhav, Aaditya is also a voter in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). He represents the Young Friends Union Cricket Club with mother Rashmi and has also played for the Kanga League.
The over three-decade-old MDFA is responsible for association football in and around Mumbai, and gets money through entry fees.
Other politicians who are members of the MDFA include Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mumbai president and MLC Ashish Shelar, who was the chairman of the body before Aaditya, and former Shiv Sena corporator Digambar Kandarkar, who is a former footballer. Senior NCP leader Vijay Kamble was among those defeated in the polls to the body.
Though Aaditya, who was said to be in a political programme in Navi Mumbai, could not be contacted despite calls and text messages on Wednesday, he had tweeted about his foray in the MDFA on December 18.
“It is my honour to be appointed as the Chairman of Mumbai District Football Assoc. By the exec committee of MDFA,” his tweet had said. “The MDFA executive committee has many national retired footballers, and I am glad they want me to serve the game as a sportsperson,” he had added, referring to him working on various sports, such as hockey, cricket, football and swimming, at the grass-roots level.
“I do realize that I have expectations to fulfill as the chairman of the MDFA and have been appointed to work. Will do so to my full extent!” Aaditya had said.
The elite ranks of politicians who are or have been associated with sports bodies include Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, BJP prime ministerial nominee and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, minister of state for housing and NCP leader Sachin Ahir (cricket), former Union minister and BJP leader VK Malhotra (archery) and Congress MP from Pune Suresh Kalmadi (Indian Olympic Association).