The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has issued its statement on FIFA’s ban on the All India Football Federation, expressing surprise at the turn of events with the governing body of the sport around the world.
“The recent suspension of the FIFA comes as a surprise to us all, especially since we had already found mutually acceptable terms,” CoA member Dr. SY Qureshi said, “ Besides, democratic elections to elect a General Body were already on the way. However, we are hopeful that all problems will be solved to restore normalcy at the earliest.”
The International Football Association slapped a ban with “immediate effect” on the apex football body of the country, citing “third-party interference”.
The decision also put India’s hosting rights of the U17 Women’s World Cup up in the air.
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“It is unfortunate to see such a directive by FIFA during a time when all efforts were being made to put Indian Football back on the right track,” CoA chairman Justice (retd.) Anil Dave said.
“That being said, we are constantly in talks with all the stakeholders, including FIFA, to find the correct solution to this situation, and get the ball rolling once again.”
In the discussions held among the FIFA-AFC, AIFF, CoA, and the Sports Ministry in the past few days, it was suggested that the present elections of the AIFF Executive Committee may be conducted with the Electoral College consisting of 36 state representatives.
It was also suggested by FIFA through the Sports Ministry that the EC may consist of 23 members, including six eminent players.
The 17 members (inclusive of the President, a Secretary General, a Treasurer, one Vice President, and one Joint Secretary) will be elected by the above electoral college.
Out of the six eminent players, four will be men and two women. The eminent players may be nominated (co-opted) in the EC and shall have voting rights, thus making it above 25 per cent of the EC.
The fact that while the letter dated August 15, 2022, from FIFA stated that Indian Football, was being suspended from August 14, 2022, the discussions between the world body and all stakeholders in India were in full swing till late in the day on August 15, 2022.
Justice Dave added, “..when the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order to set things right so as to see that a democratically elected body takes charge, and when the CoA and the Sports Ministry were doing their best for the implementation of the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the order of the suspension was passed by FIFA.”
The CoA has also stated that it had made all arrangements as per the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, to conduct the AIFF elections under an independent committee, which was in line with the FIFA letter dated August 15, 2022.
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But the suspension – about two months before the World Cup and a year before the AFC Asian Cup – “is really sad,” believes Former India captain and fellow CoA member Bhaskar Ganguly.
“When a sincere effort was being made by the CoA to give due importance to the players, who are really interested in the sport, as per the spirit of the National Sports Code of India, the order of suspension has been slapped.”
“All efforts were made by the CoA to see that the Constitution of AIFF is being framed as per the Order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the National Sports Code,” he added.