In a catastrophic development, FIFA has decided to suspend AIFF with immediate effect for “undue influence from third parties” (referring to the CoA).
The CoA (Committee of Administrators) comprising of Justice Anil Dave (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India), Dr. SY Qureshi (Former Chief Election Commissioner, India) and Mr. Bhaskar Ganguly (Former Indian Football Team Captain) was appointed by the Supreme Court to run AIFF on an interim basis until the constitution could be finalised and long-overdue elections were held.
However, FIFA saw this as “external interference” and as a serious violation of FIFA statutes. The world governing body did indicate that the suspension will be lifted once CoA’s powers have been repealed and the AIFF administration regains control.
As an immediate aftermath, India will not host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, Gokulam Kerala FC cannot compete in the AFC Women’s Club Championship next week and ISL/I-League teams will be not be eligible to participate in AFC club competitions. Further, the national women’s and men’s teams will not be able to compete in international matches or competitions.
Besides the formation of the CoA itself, some of the pain points of FIFA were due to the proposals set forward by the Committee of Administrators.
- First up was appointment of a 12-member advisory committee to assist the CoA in running day-to-day operations of the AIFF. This was disbanded by the CoA after FIFA expressed displeasure citing external influence.
- Next was the submission of AIFF draft constitution to the Supreme Court by the CoA. This led to FSDL (who run ISL) and State Associations to oppose the constitution in court on issues such as voting rights and naming I-League as the top division. Amongst other things, CoA proposed state associations will have two members (one executive member and one ’eminent’ player from the state) and individuals will have voting rights which in turn was a violation of FIFA statutes.
- The Supreme Court order on August 3 asked AIFF to conduct elections with 36 eminent players getting voting rights for the first time. The suggestion by FIFA to CoA to co-opt a few players in to the Executive Committee and retain the role of members of state associations was not considered.
- These events led to the Bureau of FIFA Council which comprises President Gianni Infantino and heads of football from the six continents to unanimously ban AIFF.
Some context/history on the whole issue: https://prempanicker.wordpress.com/2022/08/10/power-corrupts/
The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes.
The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.
The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022™, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned. FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary. FIFA is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved.FIFA Press Release, August 15, 2022
The CoA expressed surprise at FIFA’s decision to ban AIFF considering discussions were ongoing between stakeholders including FIFA-AFC.
UPDATE, August 17
According to TOI, CoA has agreed to conduct elections with electoral college comprising of just state FA representatives and will co-opt six eminent players into the executive committee as members. Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan, Shabbir Ali, Climax Lawrence, Bembem Devi and Pinky Bompal Magar are the six former players to be co-opted.
UPDATE, August 22
Supreme Court defers elections; ends tenure of CoA giving control back to secretary-general of AIFF
UPDATE, August 23
Following the decision of the Supreme Court to end the mandate of the CoA, the AIFF has requested FIFA to revoke its suspension.
UPDATE, August 27
FIFA lifts suspension imposed on AIFF; FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India to go ahead