People from all walks of life get together to bid adieu to Sandeep Chattoo
Jammu: Hundreds of people from all walks of life including sports personalities bid adieu to Sandeep Chattoo, a prominent businessman and the owner of Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC), as he was cremated here on Tuesday.
Chattoo, 57, died in Gurugram on Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He is survived by his mother, wife, and two children.
His body was flown from Delhi to his native place Jammu where people paid their last respects to Chattoo, who is widely acknowledged for his pivotal role in reinvigorating football in the insurgency-affected Kashmir valley.
The last rites were performed by his son Samarth in the presence of many mourners who had turned up to pay their last respect to the departed soul.
Chattoo’s death has left the football community in shock and grief, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, where he made significant contributions to the sport.
As a hotelier, Chattoo founded RKFC in 2016 with the aim of providing a platform for local players to showcase their talent.
Under his leadership, the club achieved great success, including winning the second division I-League in 2018 and securing victory in the 123rd edition of the IFA Shield in December 2020.
Chattoo’s unwavering commitment to promoting local talent resulted in many individuals from Jammu and Kashmir participating in India’s premier football leagues.
His passion for football and dedication to uplift the young athletes will always be remembered.
Sportspersons, political parties, and football associations have expressed their condolences and paid tributes to Chattoo’s legacy.
Former chief minister and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah and National Conference party’s vice president Omar Abdullah described him as “an invaluable jewel” who worked tirelessly for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Chattoo’s death is a huge loss, especially for the people of Kashmir where he did a tremendous job in the sports arena and creating jobs. His only urge was to do something for the locals and he proved it by his dedication and commitment,” Apni Party vice president and former minister Usman Majid Wani told PTI.
He said Chattoo’s death left the people in the valley disappointed.
“I am a broken man as I have lost my brother who groomed young footballers of the valley.”
Former MLC Charan Jeet Singh Khalsa said he stayed back in Kashmir and organised tournaments, sending a message to the outside world that the situation in the valley is normal.
The Youth Wing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said it was deeply saddened by Chattoo’s sudden passing and praised his efforts to promote local players.
The Jammu and Kashmir Football Association offered its deepest condolences to Chattoo’s family and the entire football fraternity.
Indian Super League organisers also expressed their condolences, calling Chattoo’s death a devastating loss to the sport.
Former All India Football Federation (AIFF) Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran recalled Chattoo’s immense contributions to football in Jammu and Kashmir, stating that his legacy would be taken forward through the club he created.
David Robertson, former coach of RKFC, described Chattoo as a gentleman and a great friend, expressing his devastation at the news of his death.
Ranjit Bajaj, proprietor of Minerva Punjab, acknowledged Chattoo’s pioneering role in establishing RKFC as the only representative from Jammu and Kashmir in international competitions.
Chattoo’s untimely demise has left a void in the football community, but his legacy will continue to inspire and motivate young athletes in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond.