August 26 – FIFA is set to lift the suspension of India and reinstate the country as hosts of October’s U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Insideworldfootball sources have confirmed the world governing body has moved to welcome the All India Football Federation (AIFF) back into the international football fraternity after is stepped in over third-party interference in the running of the federation and in accordance with article 14 of the FIFA statutes.
In May, India’s Supreme Court side-lined longstanding AIFF president Praful Patel and appointed a committee of administrators (CoA) to run the federation on a day-to-day basis, amend the constitution and stage fresh elections.
However, the CoA deviated from an agreed FIFA-AFC roadmap and FIFA swept in to suspend India and strip the country of the hosting rights for the women’s junior tournament, and cause the withdrawal of Indian club sides from AFC competition.
It was an embarrassment not only to domestic football officials but also to the central government who have expressed ambition to grow the game in the world’s second most populous nation, as well as host major events.
The country is in the bidding race to host the 2027 Asian Cup.
FIFA demanded that the CoA be repealled and administrative control be returned to the AIFF. The Indians bowed immediately to FIFA’s wishes with the Supreme Court returning control to the federation earlier this week in a bid to get the problems fixed. That move will allow FIFA to embrace the AIFF again.
In early September, the Indian federation is scheduled to hold new elections.
Those elections are shaping up to be controversial as well, with the ruling far-right party seeking to install Kalyan Chaubey, a BJP official in Bengal, as AIFF president. He is almost universally backed by the state federations.
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia is the other nomination for the president’s seat, but Bhutia currently only has the support of Rajasthan and Andra Pradesh, leaving him with little chance to upset Chaubey.
Whoever wins will succeed Patel, a 65-year-old career politician, a FIFA Council member and member of parliament for the opposition Nationalist Congress Party, who overstayed in 2020 after completing three terms as president. The AIFF failed to stage new elections because of a court case challenging the federation’s constitution. Two years into the dispute, FIFA intervened.
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