Govt accepts FIFA demands, CoA mandate to end

August 22, 2022

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In a desperate move to get the ban on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) revoked, the Union Government today moved an application in the Supreme Court, seeking an end to the “mandate” of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), as demanded by football’s global governing body FIFA.

The Sports Ministry’s move, a day before a crucial hearing in the top court, can be seen as an attempt to salvage the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in India in October.

FIFA had on August 15 imposed a ban on AIFF due to “third party interference”, saying that the women’s age-group showpiece tournament “cannot currently be held in India as planned”.

The government in its application has virtually accepted all the demands made by FIFA, including ending the tenure of the Supreme Court-appointed CoA as well as not allowing individual members in the electoral college.

It, however, said that the ousted Praful Patel-led dispensation should be excluded from AIFF.

“…this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to… direct that day-to-day management of AIFF shall be looked after by the AIFF administration led by the acting Secretary General to the exclusion of the earlier elected body and the CoA will have no role in the administration of AIFF from 22.08.2022,” the application read, adding the court may be please to “…to require the CoA to submit the final draft constitution to this Hon’ble Court by the end of 23.08.2022, and that the mandate of the CoA be declared to be over in full from 23.08.2022.”

In its statement while suspending AIFF, FIFA had said the revocation of the suspension would be subject to repealing of CoA’s mandate in full. FIFA also said that it wants the AIFF administration to “be fully in charge of the AIFF’s daily affairs”.

FIFA had said that it wants an “independent electoral committee to be elected by the AIFF general assembly to run the elections of a new executive committee”. It had also said that AIFF must hold its elections based on the “pre-existing membership of the AIFF” (ie, state associations only, without individual members).

Bhutia case

After the SC approved the holding of AIFF’s elections on August 28, the process of filing nomination papers was completed on Saturday.

Seven candidates, including former captain Bhaichung Bhutia, have filed nomination papers for the president’s post, though the returning officer today rejected two of them after the proposer and seconder said they have not signed any nomination paper of any candidate.

One of the government’s pleas in the Supreme Court — that of not allowing eminent players as individual members in the electoral college — may put Bhutia’s candidature under a cloud as he has been proposed and seconded by two eminent players.

The government also made a plea to modify the election programme approved by the top court in its August 3 order but said that the returning officer and his assistant, who were appointed by the CoA to conduct AIFF polls on August 28, be allowed to continue. — PTI

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