Ankur Chatterjee: A week has gone after FIFA, football’s top world body, suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for “blatant violations of the FIFA Statutes” with immediate effect. The leading Indian football body has come forward with multiple proposals in front of the country’s apex judicial body (a.k.a. the Supreme Court) in order to have their restriction lifted and suspension cancelled. The proposals were based on the discussions the Centre had with FIFA.
In a hearing today, AIFF proposed that its administration and management be carried out by a duly elected body instead of a third party, which in this case, is the Committee of Administrators (CoA), and also, the CoA’s tenure be terminated without much further ado.
“The suspension of the AIFF is disastrous for the entire nation and all football players,” the Centre’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court.
FIFA’s suspension order quoted “undue influence from third parties”. It also stated that the U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was scheduled for October of this year, won’t be held in India anymore, like it was scheduled to be held.
The Centre, to the Supreme Court, had urged to dismiss the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and prompted that the day-to-day management of the All India Football Federation be looked after by the AIFF administration by the command of the acting Secretary General. The Centre, in their petition, also pleaded the Supreme Court to start the election process from scratch.
On August 3, the Supreme Court ordered the holding of AIFF elections under the auspices of the CoA on August 28, granting voting rights to 36 prominent players. However, because FIFA was opposed to individual members forming the electoral college, the AIFF was suspended on August 15.
In a May 18 order, the Supreme Court appointed the three-member CoA, led by former top court judge AR Dave, to run the affairs of the AIFF, while removing Praful Patel as president of the national federation.
However, after the suspension, the Supreme Court stated, “we request that the Centre take a proactive role in organising the U-17 World Cup and that the lifting of the suspension of AIFF be facilitated.”
The AIFF has proposed that the voters’ list only include representatives of AIFF state/UT member associations and not players. It also suggested to the Supreme Court that the AIFF general assembly elect an independent electoral committee to conduct elections for a new executive committee.
“The AIFF constitution will be revised in accordance with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation requirements. The AIFF General Assembly should approve it without interference from a third party (i.e. CoA),” it stated.
The AIFF wants the CoA’s role in AIFF to end on August 23 and elections to be held as soon as possible so that the newly elected body can take over AIFF’s affairs and FIFA can lift the suspension.
On the request of the sports ministry, the Supreme Court has decided to take up the crucial hearing on August 22.
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