Global football body FIFA on Tuesday suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF), a National Sports Federation (NSF), with immediate effect due to the "undue influence" from outside parties, "which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes".
The ban came after state associations and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) were at loggerheads over several clauses of the drafted constitution submitted to the Supreme Court by the CoA on July 16. FIFA had set July 31 as the deadline for approval of the new constitution, which needed to be amended to comply with provisions of the National Sports Code.
In May 2022, the apex court removed AIFF's Praful Patel-led executive committee and appointed a three-member CoA headed by former SC judge Justice A.R. Dave to prepare a draft constitution and conduct elections, which were due since December 2020.
However, AIFF is not the only National Sports Federation currently facing the scrutiny of the courts. In the recent past, the SC overturned the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Archery Association of India’s (AAI) administrations and overhauled their constitutions under CoA.
On Tuesday, a division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Manmohan dissolved the executive council of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). They brought it under a six-member CoA headed by Justice Dev for noncompliance with the National Sports Code.
The committee also featured former athletes Anju Bobby Goerge and Laishram Devi. In June, the HC removed Narinder Batra as IOA president, and under the acting president, Anil Khanna, the association still failed to hold elections that were due since December 2021.
Any failure to adhere to the sports code means no recognition from government. In other words, the NSF will be bereft of any financial aids and benefits from the sports ministry.
Since the SC handed over AIFF's day-to-day functioning to CoA, two more NSFs - Hockey India and Table Tennis Federation of India - came under the Delhi High Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). The court found that these NSFs failed to oblige to the National Sports Code 2011 formulated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, which aims to bring transparency and accountability to their functioning.
In February this year, a Delhi HC bench headed by Justice Rekha Palli repealed the TTFI executive committee after Olympian Manika Batra moved the court, alleging charges of match-fixing against coach Soumyadeep Roy and officials of the federation during the Tokyo Olympics qualifier.
In the wake of Batra's allegation, the Delhi HC appointed a CoA headed by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice, Gita Mittal.
On May 25, a week after the SC expelled AIFF’s former officials, a Delhi HC bench led by Justice Waziri revoked the power of Hockey India’s executive committee. The court ruling came on a petition filed by former India player Aslam Sher Khan who challenged Narinder Batra’s appointment as a ‘life member’ of Hockey India and Elena Norman as CEO.
As the court observed violations of the National Sports Code, it placed the NSF under a CoA headed again by Justice Dave to prepare a constitution and an electoral roll for elections to the executive committee.
In the case of Hockey India, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) expressed "full trust" in India hosting the Men's World Cup in January.
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