The Committee of Administrators has assured FIFA that it is on course to set the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in order while slamming its ousted president Praful Patel for his references to suspension of the national body.
In a letter addressed to FIFA secretary general Fatima Samoura and her counterpart in the Asian Football Confederation, Datuk Windsor John, the CoA’s representative in a letter said that “interests of Indian football are being well served.” The CoA reacted after FIFA threatened to suspend the AIFF and strip off its right to host the women’s U-17 World Cup in October due to a third party “influence”, a development which came just days after the Supreme Court’s directive to hold elections of the national federation.
Patel was in May removed as AIFF president by the Supreme Court for staying way beyond his tenure, following which he wrote to the FIFA and raised the matter of a possible suspension with world football’s governing body.
The CoA missive read, “We have learnt that the ex-president of this federation, Mr. Praful Patel (who is also a Member of the FIFA Council) had immediately written to the FIFA president on 23.05.2022 following his removal intimating you that a suspension is a likelihood as FIFA-AFC would treat the Court’s intervention as a third party involvement.
“It perhaps would not be appropriate for a person who has profited from presiding over Indian football for over 16 years without any tenure limits or other controls to suggest that the federation be suspended merely because he has been removed from post he had illegally occupied.
“In fact, the third party interference would now take place if the Members’ desire to have the Court’s timelines honoured is not accepted.” The SC on Wednesday directed the executive committee of the AIFF to expeditiously hold elections as per the schedule proposed by the CoA, which is currently running the affairs of the national federation.
It took note of the fact that India is due to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup from October 11.
The elections were to be held on August 28 and the poll process was to start on August 13, as the top court approved the time-line prepared by the CoA.
Assuaging the concerns of FIFA and AFC, the CoA’s representative further wrote in its letter, “Your abiding concern about the democratic structure is very much shared by us, and is a matter upon which the highest institutions in this country are giving their regard.
“Indian Football has a small group of detractors who seek to serve themselves at the cost of the sport and its players who are dear to all of us. We have faced instances in the past when some of these have sought to mislead institutions and to undermine the proper functioning of the AIFF.
“In some instances, criminal investigations have been lodged which are obviously unpalatable to those who are the accused.
“Please rest assured that the interests of Indian Football are being well served and U-17 Women’s World Cup will remain completely unaffected, a fact taken note of by the Supreme Court and upon which guarantees have been furnished by the Prime Minister of India.”