Praful Patel, the President All India Football Federation (AIFF) has accepted the Supreme Court's decision to have AIFF elections and bring "finality to a long pending issue".
Patel's time as the top-man in AIFF affairs came to an end after the Supreme Court on Wednesday constituted a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the day-to-day affairs of the national federation.
The SC named a panel with former captain of the Indian football team, Bhaskar Ganguly and former Chief Election Commisioner, SY Qureshi as members and Justice (retd) AR Dave as its head.
The 65-year-old admitted that he was not eligible for re-election.
"A speedy resolution, and a newly elected body will serve in the best interest of Indian football," Patel said in a statement, going on to add that the AIFF constitution was already "broadly complying" with the National Sports Code, keeping in mind the statutes of AFC and FIFA.
"The AIFF constitution broadly follows the sports code 2011 for age and tenure limits, and therefore I was in any way going to step down from office, and neither was I eligible for re-election."
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Patel's third term in office ended in December 2020 but he clung to a SC case, which remained pending since 2017, to extend his executive committee's term while refusing to hold elections till the issue of a new constitution was settled by the top court.
This is the first time a CoA will take charge of the AIFF, unprecedented in its 85-year-old history during which time it has never failed to hold its elections until the Patel-led dispensation bucked the trend.
Before Patel, then Congress party heavyweight Priya RanjanDasmunsi served as AIFF president from 1989 to 2008.
"I am always available for the service to take Indian Football forward together, and once again express my gratitude for having received the love and affection and honour to serve the sport," Patel said
Patel had taken over as full-time president in October 2009 before being re-elected to the top post in December 2012 and 2016. His three terms and 12 years as AIFF president ended in December 2020, the maximum permitted to a national sports federation (NSF) chief under the Sports Code.
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