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Election Row: FIFA and AFC aware of AIFF’s Supreme Court approach

A potential ban from FIFA was one of the reasons the Indian FA sought an extension for its current Executive Committee…

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been in the news lately after its decision to approach the Supreme Court (SC) of India to seek an extension of term for the current Executive Committee. 

The committee’s term is set to end on 21st December 2020 but the lack of a Constitution that purportedly does not conform to the National Sports Code has meant that the Indian FA are unable to hold elections to form the next Executive Committee. 

In such a case, there was a possibility that the court would appoint an ad-hoc committee to take charge of the Indian FA till the elections are held. One of the reasons AIFF approached the court was to ensure they do not receive a ban from FIFA which does not take kindly to such judicial interference. 

Goal has learnt that the AIFF has kept the FIFA, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the loop over the developments. By making sure the governing bodies of football and Olympic sports in India are aware of the legal wrangle, AIFF are trying to ensure they do not run foul of any sort of retribution.

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The issue kicked off in October 2017 when the Delhi High Court (HC) annulled the last AIFF elections which were held in December 2016 when Praful Patel was elected as the President. The Delhi HC stated that the elections were held without following the then newly-implemented National Sports Code and appointed former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi as an independent administrator to look after the AIFF’s affairs until fresh elections were held.  

The AIFF went on to approach the Supreme Court against the decision, arguing that India was in danger of being de-recognised by FIFA which only allows an elected body to run an affiliated FA. 

The Supreme Court duly stayed the High Court’s ruling in November 2017 but appointed two ombudsmen (Qureshi and former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly) to formulate a new AIFF constitution within eight weeks and then conduct elections. The court allowed the current Executive Committee members to discharge their duties till then. 

However, the new constitution hasn’t been filed in court yet, even after three years. 

It is also believed that the state associations have also written to AIFF, seeking clarity on the elections. It must be noted that AIFF had already sent them a letter, informing them of its decision to approach the court. 

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As far as Indian football is concerned, the next few years are very important. India is set to host the 2022 U17 Women’s World Cup (after the 2020 event was cancelled) and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asia Cup. India has also bid for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup hosting rights. 

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