FIFA suspends All India Football Federation
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was indefinitely suspended by FIFA on August 15, 2022 for “undue influence by a third party” in the procedure to adopt a new constitution and choose office holders.
The third party in question was the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was appointed by the Supreme Court of India. The committee included Justice Anil Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, and former Indian football captain Bhaskar Ganguly. The CoA was established in May of 2o22, to take temporary control of the AIFF after the previous organization, headed by President Praful Patel, was found to have exceeded the required 12-year tenure.
FIFA recently issued a warning to India’s football organisation that any “deviations” from a previously agreed-upon roadmap intended to fix the governance flaws could result in a ban and/or the loss of the privilege to host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in October. Indian government officials are now scrambling to meet FIFA’s criteria for overturning the suspension after football’s world governing body ruled that Indian government arbitrators had overstepped the mark.
The story so far
In conjunction with the action, FIFA also revoked India’s right to host the under-17 Women’s World Cup. The AIFF’s verdict comes after the committee was formed by the Indian Supreme Court to take over the “day-to-day governance” of the organization in May after its president, Praful Patel, failed to hold elections that were supposed to take place in December 2020.
FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) traveled to India in June when FIFA “had good meetings with local stakeholders regarding the situation at the AIFF.” The sessions reached the consensus that the adoption of the AIFF Statutes in accordance with FIFA/AFC good governance standards and the hosting of an electoral congress to elect the next AIFF leadership should be the next steps.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) may share the similar fate
The IOA, too, is staring at a similar fate after the Delhi High Court on Tuesday named another CoA to run the federation. Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) threatened to suspend the IOA for outside interference in its functioning, as well as for not conducting its elections in a timely manner.
The IOA is the fifth sports federation, after football, hockey, judo and table tennis, to be placed under a CoA. Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Anil Dave, and ex-chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi are administrators in three of the five CoAs: football, hockey, and IOA.
IFA pleads FIFA
The latest setbacks for AIFF and IOA came at a time when a high-level delegation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is in New Delhi for crisis talks with the Government, Hockey India, and a third court-appointed CoA.
The AIFF informed FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura of the court’s decision in a letter delivered to FIFA on Tuesday. In the letter, acting general secretary of the AIFF Sunando Dhar asked FIFA to “reconsider their decision of suspending the AlFF.” FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the AIFF letter.
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