FIFA Ban: Supreme Court Scraps Panel Running Football Body, Elections Soon

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The Supreme Court today scrapped the Committee of Administrators (CoA) — the panel it appointed last year to run the All India Football Federation (AIFF) — and directed that the day-to-day management of the Indian football body be looked after by the AIFF administration led by the acting Secretary General.
The court also modified the election process by granting a one-week extension. The Centre had proposed deferment of AIFF elections scheduled for August 28 by a week because of proposed changes in the nomination process.

The voters’ list for the AIFF elections will comprise the member states (35+1 associate), the court said, adding that the same Returning Officer will continue.

On August 3, the Supreme Court ordered the holding of AIFF elections under the aegis of the CoA on August 28, giving 36 eminent players voting rights. But the FIFA, which was not in favour of individual members forming the electoral college, suspended the AIFF on August 15.

The AIFF had proposed to the Supreme Court that the voters’ list should consist of representatives of state/UT member associations of AIFF only, and should not include players.

Gopal Shankaranaryan, who was the counsel for the CoA and had questioned the “tone and tenor of FIFA’s communications” arguing that India “should not cave into any pressure”, will assist the court as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court), the court order said.

This order comes a week after FIFA, the world’s top football body, suspended the AIFF with immediate effect over “flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes”. FIFA had cited “undue influence from third parties” in its suspension order. It also said the U-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in October this year, “cannot currently be held in India as planned”.

“Suspension of AIFF is disastrous for the entire nation and all football players,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has taken up the crucial hearing today on the request of the sports ministry after the FIFA suspension.

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