AIFF spends over Rs 3 crore every year in fighting legal case: Football Delhi president Prabhakaran

Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran said the current legal team has not brought any progress to the election-related case pending before the Supreme Court since 2017.

File Photo: Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran has claimed that All India Football Federation (AIFF) spends more than Rs 3 crore annually in fighting legal cases.   -  H. Vibhu

Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran has claimed that All India Football Federation (AIFF) spends more than Rs 3 crore annually in fighting legal cases and that such a big expenditure is not "justified".

In a letter shot off to AIFF president Praful Patel, urging him to hold elections of the national body without delay, Prabhakaran said the current legal team has not brought any progress to the election-related case pending before the Supreme Court since 2017.

"...we should not be spending money on taking second opinion rather we should hire a new set of legal teams with 10% of the current legal budget," he wrote in the letter dated May 7.

"Annual expense of Rs 3 crore plus on legal matters is significantly high and not justified for AIFF. Many saved here (by reducing legal budget) should be spent in organising national youth championships, youth leagues and youth national teams exposure and camps.

READ: Stimac: India needs to be wary of the strength and international experience of Afghanistan

"The current set of legal teams have not brought any progress to the case in the last three years. (If) you personally want this case to be settled at the earliest, a new set of lawyers will be given a maximum three months to settle this case." In its executive committee meeting held in Kolkata earlier this month, the AIFF had decided to take opinion of a senior advocate on the way forward, regarding the holding of elections after the three-member committee set up earlier to look into the matter submitted its report to the General Body.

Patel completed his three terms and 12 years as AIFF president in December 2020, the maximum permitted to a national sports federation chief under the Sports Code. The AIFF, however, did not hold the elections, citing a pending petition in the Supreme Court regarding its constitution.

The AIFF moved an application in the Supreme Court only a month before its elections were due, seeking certain clarifications on the status of its constitution, which was under scrutiny in the apex court since 2017. The case is still pending.

ALSO READ: I-League: Gokulam Kerala FC on the threshold of a remarkable triumph

Prabhakaran also asked Patel to place the AIFF under a normalisation committee of the FIFA to run its affairs till the elections are held. The suggestion is unlikely to be heeded by Patel as such a decision will be hard to swallow for him as he sits at the powerful FIFA Council.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court last month, the Sports Ministry had said that Patel has no mandate to continue as AIFF president as he has already served three terms and the national body should hold elections without further delay.

"The growing criticism is impacting football in a big way, and we should not allow this situation to further deteriorate where court might appoint an administrator like in few other NSFs," the head of Delhi's football body said.

"...you as a president of the organisation has a greater responsibility to save AIFF and football.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :