Banned India scrambles to keep women’s U-17 World Cup hosting and teams playing

August 17 – In the wake of India’s ban from the game, the country’s Supreme Court has adjourned the AIFF case to next week with the government and FIFA holding further talks as the Indians bid to retain the U-17 World Cup hosting rights.

At the same time Gokulam Kerala FC have appealed to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to help facilitate lifting the ban.

On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court had been scheduled to hear the All India Football Federation (AIFF) case again, but the matter was pushed back to next Monday with the court saying that it wants the Union of India (the country’s official name) to take proactive measures to ensure the country can stage the women’s U-17 World Cup and to lift the suspension on AIFF.

The government is reportedly in talks with FIFA and stakeholders in order to rescue the U-17 Women’s World Cup which India was due to host in October. On Monday, the world federation banned India from the game because of third-party interference and stripped the country from the hosting rights for the junior competition, a decision that received nationwide press coverage.

“The country should have this event and it is really good for the U-17 athletes,” said Justice DY Chandrachud.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said: “Considering several factors about what can be done, Centre has taken it up as an issue. We took it up with FIFA. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) also played a key role and there is some breaking of the ice which has taken place… Our discussion is going on and this matter can be heard on Monday.”

India’s top court had appointed a CoA, but the global governing body moved to ban the AIFF because of deviations from an agreed FIFA-AFC roadmap to get the federation’s administration back on track.

The ban has also left Indian clubs out of AFC club competitions, leaving Gokulam Kerala FC stranded in Uzbekistan ahead of next week’s continental women’s club championship. They asked the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and seek a solution that will allow the club to participate in the AFC competition.

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