The All India Football Federation on Wednesday recommended former captain IM Vijayan for Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award.
The 51-year-old, who scored 40 goals in 79 international matches, was bestowed the Arjuna award in 2003. He was also awarded the Indian Player of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das confirmed to PTI that Vijayan’s name was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Six Indian footballers – Sailen Manna (1971), Chuni Goswami (1983), PK Banerjee (1990), Bhaichung Bhutia (2008), Sunil Chhetri (2019) and Bembem Devi (2020) – have earlier won the Padma Shri.
“I am happy that I have been recommended for the Padma Shri and I thank the AIFF for that. I will be happier if I get the award,” Vijayan said from his home in Kerala. “I have served Indian football to the best of my abilities and I have no regrets,” he added.
Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, is announced every year on the occasion of Republic Day except for brief interruption(s) during the years 1978 and 1979 and 1993 to 1997.
The award is given in three categories, namely,
All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards. However, Government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these Awards.
The award seeks to recognize works of distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/disciplines. An illustrative list of the fields is as under: