The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred till August 22 hearing on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) matter after the Centre said it is in discussion with FIFA over holding of the U-17 Women’s world cup in India.
The court also asked the Centre to take proactive steps to hold the world cup in India and lift the suspension of AIFF, PTI reported from New Delhi.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Paridwala was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that two meetings have been held by the government and committee of administrators with FIFA and efforts are being made to “break some ice” on the holding of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
He requested that the matter be deferred till August 22 so that a consensus could be arrived at between the active stakeholders of the AIFF.
Mehta said that a few words from the court that the stakeholders are trying to sort this up will help them in their endeavour.
The bench said it is a great international event for the under 17 children and it is only concerned with the fact that the tournament is held in the country.
If somebody from outside is trying to interfere with it, it would not be tolerated, it said.
The bench asked the Centre to play a proactive role in the matter and facilitate the lifting the suspension of AIFF.
On Tuesday, the FIFA had suspended India for “undue influence from third parties” and stripped the country of the right to host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
The country was scheduled to host the FIFA tournament from October 11-30.
This is the first time that the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year-old history.
A ban on India was on the cards after the Supreme Court removed Praful Patel as AIFF president on May 18 for not holding elections due in December 2020.
The court had appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), headed by former apex court judge AR Dave, to manage the affairs of the national federation.
The CoA, which has former Chief Commissioner of India SY Quraishi and ex India captain Bhaskar Ganguly as other members, also had to frame its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.
Rethink on rights for 36 ex-players
A few days ago, during an informal chat, an official rued that the member associations felt let down by the way the committee of administrators of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had thumbed down most of their suggestions in the draft constitution.
This was a surprise because on May 18, when Praful Patel was removed as president and the three-member CoA was appointed by the Supreme Court, the state football associations were euphoric.“With Patel gone, Indian football will see a new dawn,” one official had said.The mood changed soon.“Seem to have jumped from the fire to the frying pan,” was the common refrain a few weeks later.
Fifa does not recognise individual voting rights and this was one of the main reasons why the ban has been slapped.In a bid to give voice to the players, India may have lost their face.
That the CoA would stay even after the interim elected body gets to take charge after the August 28 elections did not go down well with Fifa.
The CoA, in a statement on Tuesday, termed the decision unfortunate. “The CoA is surprised that the Fifa decision has come when extensive discussions were going on for the past few days between all stakeholders, including Fifa-AFC, AIFF, CoA, and the Sports Ministry as per the Order of the Supreme Court,” it said in a statement.
“While the CoA was committed to implement the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Order regarding the elections of the AIFF, passed on August 3, 2022, it was also in constant dialogue with all stakeholders.
“In the discussions held among the Fifa-AFC, AIFF, CoA, and the Sports Ministry in the past few days, it was suggested that the present elections of the AIFF Executive Committee may be conducted with the Electoral College consisting of 36 state representatives.” Anil Ramesh Dave, the CoA chairman, took a dig at the Patel regime too.
“It is really deplorable that for almost the last two years, the body, whose term had already been completed, had continued in an absolutely undemocratic and illegal manner.No action was taken.
But when the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order to set things right..and when the CoA and the Sports Ministry were doing their best for the implementation of the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the order of the suspension was passed by Fifa.”