“Comes as a surprise to us”- All India Football Federation responds after FIFA suspends India from all football-relating activities


“Comes as a surprise to us”- All India Football Federation responds after FIFA suspends India from all football-relating activities

The All India Football Federation has been suspended by FIFA, the organization that governs world football, effective from August 14, 2022, until further notice, according to a letter from Fatma Samoura, the secretary general of FIFA, dated August 15, 2022. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has expressed its surprise and disappointment at the recent turn of events.

The CoA was surprised that the FIFA decision came after days of extensive discussions between all parties, including FIFA-AFC, AIFF, CoA, and the Sports Ministry in accordance with the Supreme Court’s order.

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The CoA was dedicated to putting into effect the Honorable Supreme Court’s Order pertaining to the elections of the AIFF, which was issued on August 3, 2022, but it was also in constant communication with all stakeholders.

All processes undertaken by AIFF were as per FIFA’s instructions

It was suggested during recent discussions between the FIFA-AFC, AIFF, CoA, and the Sports Ministry that the current elections for the AIFF Executive Committee could be held with an Electoral College made up of 36 state representatives. FIFA also suggested that the EC could have 23 members, including six illustrious athletes, through the Sports Ministry.

The aforementioned electoral college will choose the 17 members (including the President, a Secretary General, a Treasurer, one Vice President, and one Joint Secretary). Four of the six distinguished players will be men and two will be women. The EC may nominate (co-opt) eminent players, who will then have voting rights and make up more than 25% of the EC.

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The abovementioned points, the CoA strongly feels, are very much in sync with the letter issued by FIFA-AFC to the AIFF Acting General Secretary on July 25, 2022. The CoA also made all arrangements as per the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, to conduct the AIFF elections under an independent committee, consisting of eminent and highly reputed election officers.

Given the foregoing, the CoA is taken aback by the international body’s choice to suspend Indian Football while discussions are ongoing among all parties to determine the best course of action. Even though Indian football was suspended as of August 14, 2022, according to a letter from FIFA dated August 15, 2022, negotiations between FIFA and all Indian stakeholders continued well into the next day, on August 15, 2022.

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AIFF are surprised by FIFA’s verdict even after ongoing successful negotiations

CoA member Dr. SY Qureshi stated, “The recent suspension of the FIFA comes as a surprise to us all, especially since we had already found mutually accepted terms. 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.”

Former India captain and the third member of the CoA, Bhaskar Ganguly said, “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. It is really sad.”

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