FIFA suspends AIFF; U-17 women’s World Cup in India under threat

FIFA said the All India Football Association violated rules by allowing a third party like the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators to administer it.

By Rahul Venkat

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been suspended by the world football governing body FIFA because of ‘undue influences of third parties’ that go against FIFA rules.

The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled in India from October 11-30, will no longer be held in India unless the suspension is lifted.

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“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA said in a statement.

“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.”

“FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the [FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022] tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.

“FIFA is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved,” FIFA added.

The AIFF has been governed by a Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) since May 18.

The Supreme Court had relieved then-AIFF president Praful Patel and his executive committee of all responsibilities. Praful Patel had been the AIFF president for 12 years, having completed three four-year terms and was not eligible for any more terms under the laws laid down in India’s National Sports Code.

However, no new elections were held for the post of AIFF president, necessitating the Supreme Court to step in to appoint a CoA, which was working to finalise a new AIFF constitution and hold elections soon. The CoA even met with a joint FIFA-AFC delegation in June to ensure the process was being followed.

However, disputes arose between the CoA and the state football associations regarding a few provisions of the final draft of the new AIFF constitution.

FIFA had also recommended that only 25 percent of the electoral college should be made up of former players, while the CoA had recommended 36 players along with 36 state football association representatives - making it 50 per cent.

With no clarity regarding reducing the number of former players in the electoral college, FIFA deemed the CoA to be interfering as a third party in the running of the AIFF, resulting in the suspension.

India’s Supreme Court will hold an urgent hearing on the matter on Wednesday, August 17.

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