Fearing FIFA Ban on AIFF, State Football Bodies Go into Huddle; Plan to File Review Petition with SC


With the international football federation (FIFA) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ban looming large on the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the state associations have reportedly held a virtual meeting on Saturday to find a solution to the emerging crisis.

Sources in the know of things said that the state associations have decided to file a review petition with the Supreme Court to urge the apex court to re-examine its order dated August 3, 2022 so that AIFF can avoid the impending FIFA-AFC ban.

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FIFA-AFC, via a letter dated August 05, 2022 to the acting AIFF general secretary, Sunanda Dhar, have threatened the national football body with a ban due to alleged “influence by third parties” and said India could lose the hosting rights of the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup because of that.

The state associations feel that if the August 9, 2022 deadline mentioned in the FIFA-AFC letter is not met, the next step FIFA-AFC would take is to ban AIFF, which would be detrimental to the sport in the country.

In the August 5 letter, FIFA-AFC have warned that AIFF is “deviating” from the “roadmap” for getting the new statute in place.

In a strongly-worded letter, a copy of which is with IANS, the global and continental football-governing bodies said, “We refer you to our joint FIFA-AFC letter of 1 July 2022 which addressed the roadmap agreed upon by AIFF and further participants to the meetings organised during a joint mission held on 21-23 June 2022. FIFA and the AFC further reiterated our positions in our joint FIFA-AFC letter sent on 25 July 2022.”

The letter further said that as per the said roadmap, the AIFF was to call for a special general assembly in the first week of August 2022 to approve the new statute worked upon with FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community.

“As per the said roadmap, the AIFF was to call for a special general assembly on the first week of August 2022 to approve the new statutes worked upon with FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community. Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Supreme Court’s hearing held yesterday on the situation of the AIFF allegedly resulted in deviations to the aforementioned roadmap.

“If this is considered to be true, it would irrefutably jeopardise the mutual understanding which was displayed so far on the steps forward,” the letter, dated August 5, said.

The mail concluded with a warning of an imminent ban if the AIFF does not adhere to its “statutory obligations” towards FIFA and AFC and gets influenced by “third parties”.

“In this context, we would like to recall the AIFF’s statutory obligations applicable to all of FIFA and the AFC member associations, including the obligation to manage its affairs independently and ensure that its own affairs are not influenced by any third parties (cf. art. 14.1.(i) and art. 19.1 of FIFA Statutes in conjunction with art. 15.4 of the AFC Statutes).”

The letter also asked AIFF to provide FIFA-AFC with the “official transcript of the Supreme Court’s decision of August 3” without further delay. The letter said that should the FIFA-AFC find a deviation in the path to the normalisation of AIFF, it would withdraw the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

“Bearing in mind the above, we kindly ask the AIFF to provide us without further delay with an official transcript of the Supreme Court’s decision of 3 August 2022 by 17:00 hours Indian Standard Time on 9 August 2022. Upon receipt of the said documentation and following its in-depth analysis, should there exist serious deviations to the aforesaid roadmap, we would submit the matter to our relevant decision-making body for further considerations and possible decisions based on FIFA Statutes, including the suspension of the AIFF and the withdrawal of the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India,” the letter concluded.

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