Days after the Committee of Administrators submitted its draft constitution of the All India Football Federation to the Supreme Court, a number of state football associations and the Football Sports Development Limited have approached the top court over certain clauses in the draft, as reported by PTI.
The state FAs and FSDL, the AIFF’s marketing partner, have raised objections against more than 20 clauses in the draft constitution, increasing the risk of the country facing a ban by Fifa.
The world footballing body and the Asian Football Confederation had issued an ultimatum to the AIFF to adopt a new constitution by July 31 or risk facing a ban from international football. Fifa and AFC stated that after new constitution is adopted, a Special General Body Meeting must be called by August 5 where a date should be finalised for elections.
Should the Fifa ban be imposed, there’s a possibility India may be stripped off hosting rights for the U-17 Women’s World Cup scheduled to take place in the country in October.
What are state FAs objecting to?
A seven-member panel representing state FAs had earlier written to Fifa stating that many clauses of the draft constitution were “discriminatory and illogical”.
According to PTI, the states have objected to more than 20 clauses of which six are major ones. The states have objected to Article 20.2 which mandates that every state FA should have a former eminent player as one of the two voting members to the AIFF general body. The article restricts each eminent player to serve only one term on the general body.
While the draft constitution has no provision for a vice president in the 12-member executive committee, state FAs have demanded that the executive committee should have five vice presidents representing each zone.
State FAs have also objected to the clause which states that an office-bearer in the AIFF executive committee cannot be an office-bearer in a state association.
The constitution also bars office-bearers from being a member of any other federation or association (of a sport other than football) affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association directly or indirectly.
Shaji Prabhakaran, the Delhi Football president and a member of the state FAs’ seven-member committee said that states are willing to settle their differences for the good of Indian football.
“We need a constitution that does not disrupt the football structure in India. There has to be give and take (in the drafting of the constitution). In the end, not everyone will get what they are looking out for. All stakeholders will have to keep the interest of Indian football above anything else. We cannot afford a Fifa ban, nobody wants a ban. In the end, we have to see whether the court orders are being followed in letter and spirit, as per expectations of the Supreme Court,” Prabhakaran told the Times of India.
What is FSDL objecting to?
The draft constitution states that India’s top men’s league will be run by the AIFF with promotion and relegation in place. According to this clause, the AIFF-run I-League will be India’s top league and not the FSDL-run Indian Super League.
The ISL does not have promotion or relegation but was recognised as India’s top league by the AFC in 2019.
In its petition to the Apex Court, FSDL has argued that the draft constitution violates the Master Rights Agreement signed by AIFF in 2010. The ISL was launched in 2014 in accordance with the agreement. FSDL has also stated that the provisions are “against the development and promotion of football in India.”