The first Indian to be elected to the FIFA Council, joining on 7 April 2019, Praful Patel has been President of the All India Football Federation since 2012. An elected politician since the early 1990s, Patel is a member of the Indian parliament for the state of Mahrashtra, and was appointed as an Asian Football Confederation vice-president in 2015 until accepting his role on the FIFA Council. He was the chairman of the Local Organising Committee during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, as well as being on the FIFA Financial Committee since 2017.
Patel was one of the eight candidates vying for the spot in the election which was held during the 29th AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The AFC Electoral committee and the FIFA Review Committee conducted the eligibility review on all the candidates. Out of the 46 voting members, Patel got 38 votes which only highlight how highly he is regarded by the fellow Asian nations.
AAl- Mohannadi (Qatar), Khalid Awad A. Althebity (Saudi Arabia), Mariano V. Araneta, Jr. (Philippines), Chung Mong Gyu (Korea Republic), Du Zhaocai (China PR), Mehdi Taj (IR Iran) and Kohzo Tashima (Japan) were the others who contested for the five available spots in the council. The membership in the council will be for four years, from 2019 to 2023. India recently acquired the rights to host the 2020 FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup and has already successfully hosted the U-17 Men’s World Cup in 2017.