The Committee of Administrators of the All India Football Federation filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking contempt of court proceedings against former AIFF president Praful Patel and office bearers of seven state football associations.
The CoA, in its petition, has accused Patel and the state FA officials of “interference in the administration of justice” and of “willful and flagrant disobedience” of the Supreme Court’s orders. It also sought the court to stop Patel from “participating in and holding any Football related posts forthwith, including and not limited to positions in FIFA and AFC”.
Officials from the football associations of Karnataka, Delhi, Odisha, Mizoram, Gujarat, West Bengal and Punjab have been named as contemnors along with Patel.
The CoA have accused the seven state officials of being “instrumental and complicit with Mr. Patel in presenting a completely different picture to the Fifa and AFC” despite telling the SC that they had no objections to elections to the AIFF being held before a constitution was finalised.
The CoA have accused Patel of using his position as a Fifa council member to “arrange” a letter from Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation threatening a ban on India.
On August 5, Fifa and the AFC sent a joint-letter to the AIFF stating that it had been informed that the Supreme Court hearing on the issue had “allegedly resulted in deviations to the roadmap” and if true, “would irrefutably jeopardise the mutual understanding which was displayed so far on the steps forward”.
The CoA said that it responded to the Fifa-AFC letter attempting to allay their concerns and “pointed out that there had been no deviation and that the State Associations themselves were part of the consensus decision to finalize the Constitution after the elections were to be held post-haste.” It also attached a copy of the Supreme Court’s order dated August 3 in their response.
The petition also includes transcripts of a Zoom meeting called by Patel with members of 35 state associations on August 6 which, the petition argues, shows Patel “impliedly admitted to having arranged for the letter from Fifa-AFC”.
In the transcript of the meeting, Patel is quoted as saying, “My feeling is, please trust me.... See, I can say only so many things, I cannot speak everything but I can say this much, the purpose of that letter is also to help you.”
The CoA have further stated that at Patel’s behest, a few state officials reached out to the Union Government with the Fifa-AFC letter but not the CoA response in an attempt to get the government to file a review petition seeking to modify the SC’s order.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and state association have filed separate petitions before the SC seeking to modify its August 3 order stating that Fifa and the AFC have “strong reservations in the member structure of AIFF”.
A Supreme Court bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and AS Bopanna will hear the CoA’s petition on Thursday along with the petitions filed by the government and state associations.
The CoA’s petition can be read in full here.