Indian footballer Anwar Ali has taken the All India Football Federation to court over his right to play, ESPN India reported on Tuesday.
He filed a writ petition in Delhi High Court on Monday challenging AIFF’s directive that prohibits from continuing his career as a footballer due to a rare heart condition.
Ali has been diagnosed with apical hypercardio myopathy, a rare heart condition that could prove to be a serious risk to his life if he continued playing football, according to several doctors and also as per the opinion of experts at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Rennes, France.
Ali who represented India at the U-17 World Cup had signed for Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC where his condition was detected. After Mumbai City FC decided to release him, Ali had recently joined third-tier side Mohammedan Sporting. But the AIFF after a recommendation from its medical committee asked Ali to stop training.
The AIFF also sent the report of the medical committee to the Asian Football Confederation who reportedly agreed with the AIFF’s findings.
However, Ali’s lawyers accused the AIFF of a lack of communication over the issue.
“The basic point is, you have banned Anwar without the committee giving any finding. He can’t play and his livelihood is at stake. In the absence of any rules or regulations under the AIFF, his right to livelihood cannot be taken away,” Amitabh Tewari told ESPN India.
They also argued that the medical committee of the AIFF had not been formed in compliance with Article 35(4) of the AIFF Constitution. The lawyers also sent an e-mail to AIFF seeking a copy of official communication by the committee.
“We also asked them under what regulations they decided to ban (Anwar). They replied on September 26, saying no decision had been made. How can you issue a letter on September 7 saying I should not be allowed to train and the medical committee sends an email on September 26 saying we haven’t still decided?” Tewari said, adding that they had also not been shown a copy of the AFC report that supported AIFF’s findings.
The AIFF, however, are willing to offer Ali an alternate career to ensure that he can have a livelihood, reported The Times of India.
“We are happy to look into alternative career options for Anwar. He could be involved with talent identification for youth development. We will also help fast track his coaching licenses. We will find the best option for him,” said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.
The AIFF medical committee is yet to announce the verdict and is waiting to hear from Ali who had requested a personal meeting with the committee. Ali though didn’t turn up for the first hearing because it came at very short notice for him and the defender hasn’t responded to the apex body about the time of the meeting, Das revealed.