The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Union government to work with FIFA to revoke the ban on All India Football Federation so that the country can host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup between October 11 and October 30, Live Law reported.
The world’s football governing body had suspended the All India Football Federation on Tuesday, citing “undue influence from third parties”. Earlier this month, FIFA had named the Committee of Administrators, which was appointed to see the functioning of the federation, as the “third party influence”.
The committee has been drafting the Constitution of the federation since May so that elections to the sports body’s executive committee can take place.
FIFA has disagreed with many suggestions made to the Constitution, including the composition of the electoral college meant to select an executive committee of the All India Football Federation. While the Committee of Administrators wants 50% of the college to comprise eminent football players, FIFA wants the figure reduced to 25%.
Several state football associations have also described the Constitution as discriminatory.
Despite FIFA’s objections, the Supreme Court had asked the All India Football Federation to elect its executive committee before the U-17 Women’s World Cup. It had allowed the composition of the electoral college sanctioned by the Committee of Administrators, not taking into consideration FIFA’s recommendations.
On Tuesday, while suspending the All Indian Football Federation, FIFA said that it is firm on its demand for change in the composition of the electoral college.
On Wednesday, a Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Pardiwala adjourned the hearing till August 22 on Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s request, who said that the Union government and FIFA are in “active discussions” to revoke the ban, Live Law reported.
“Yesterday itself government took it up as an issue,” he said. “We had two meetings with FIFA. We have reached a stage. I must also say that the CoA [Committee of Administrators] has played a very constructive role. There is some breaking of the ice which has taken place.”
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, who filed a petition for elections to the All India Football Federation, said that the entire fiasco was orchestrated by Praful Patel, the sports body’s former president.
Patel was relieved from his duties on May 18 by the Supreme Court. His term expired in December 2020. He completed three terms of four years each – the maximum period permitted to a sports federation chief under India’s National Sports Code.
The Committee of Administrators has also accused Patel of colluding with state football associations to create hurdles in arranging the Under-17 Women’s World Cup. At an August 6 meeting with football associations, Patel had allegedly indicated that he told FIFA about the Committee of Administrators “deviating from the roadmap” to host the world cup.
Solicitor General Mehta on Wednesday said that the court must act strictly against those who are interfering in the matter.