By Samindra Kunti
August 16 – FIFA has banned India from the game with immediate effect over third-party interference, stripping the country of the hosting rights for October’s U-17 Women’s World Cup.
On Monday, India celebrated their 75th Independence Day, but there was little to cheer as Zurich suspended India from football over what it deems third-party interference in accordance with article 14 of the FIFA statutes.
FIFA had previously warned the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that a ban was imminent, noting that the three-member committee that the Supreme Court appointed in May to replace Praful Patel was deviating from a FIFA-AFC agreed-on roadmap to amend the constitution and stage fresh elections.
The suspension means that India cannot stage the U-17 Women’s World Cup in October, a competition that had previously been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
FIFA has left the door for India to still stage the tournament, but with little time left this now seems unlikely. The matter is in the hands of FIFA’s Bureau of the FIFA Council. India’s teams have also been excluded from participating in AFC club competitions.
“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” said FIFA in Monday’s statement.
In a letter to the AIFF’s acting general secretary Sunando Dhar, seen by Insideworldfootball, FIFA stressed that the mandate of the committee of administrators must be repealed as well as that the AIFF administration must be restored to taking charge of the day-to-day operations.
Once the suspension is lifted, the AIFF must revise their constitution in accordance with FIFA and AFC requirements as well as stage elections based on the pre-existing membership structure of the AIFF, that is state associations.
The draft constitution submitted by the committee of administrators to the Supreme Court suggested that the electoral college would have representatives from 36 state associations and 36 eminent football players from all over India — 24 male and 12 female.
But FIFA only allows for the executive committee to have 25% of player representation. FIFA had also demanded that a new constitution would be in place by July 31, a deadline that the committee of administrators missed.
The problems of the AIFF date back to 2020. Then-president Praful Patel completed his third term and 12 years as chairman of the India federation in December of that year, the maximum permitted to a sports federation president by India’s sports code, but, Patel, a FIFA Council member, overstayed because of a pending case over the AIFF’s constitution in the Supreme Court. The country’s highest court will sit again on Wednesday.
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