In a letter to the acting general secretary of the All India Football Federation, world governing body FIFA has said they will lift the ban only after the ‘repeal of the CoA mandate in full’ and once the AIFF administration is ‘fully in charge’ of its daily affairs.
These are the two main conditions laid down by FIFA for lifting the suspension of the AIFF. The world body has also said it won’t accept the decision taken by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to include former India internationals in the voters’ list for the AIFF elections.
In her letter, which is accessed by The Indian Express, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said the Bureau of FIFA Council decided on ’14 August 2022 to suspend the AIFF with immediate effect due to flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes’. The decision was made public late on August 15.
Samoura said FIFA had been following the developments within the AIFF since May 18, the day when the Supreme Court appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators to ‘assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee until elections take place.’ The apex court had appointed the CoA after the AIFF did not hold its elections due to a logjam in finalising its constitutions.
A joint delegation of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation subsequently travelled to India, where timelines were agreed to form the constitution and hold fresh elections. Samoura, however, said there had been ‘serious deviations’ from the roadmap.
“…it was confirmed that the AIFF had been ordered to hold elections (i) prior to the adoption of a new constitution, as the finalization of the latter would take more time; (ii) for an interim mandate of three months, until the new constitution was finalised; (iii) based on the national sports code…; and (iv) with the defined electoral college reshuffled in order to include players, in addition, the Bureau understood that the CoA would still play a role within the aforesaid interim mandate,” Samoura wrote in her letter.
This, the FIFA secretary-general said, ‘constituted undue interference by a third party’. “Furthermore, the Bureau decided that the lifting of the suspension be subject to the following conditions being satisfied: Repeal of the CoA mandate in full; the AIFF administration to be fully in charge of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” the letter noted.
Samoura said that upon lifting the suspension, the AIFF constitution will have to be ‘revised in accordance with the requirements of FIFA and AFC’ without ‘interference from any third party’. She added that the fresh elections will be held based on the ‘pre-existing membership structure of AIFF (i.e. state associations only). This means the CoA’s push to include players in the decision-making process will not be accepted.
Samoura, in the letter, added that the suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held from October 11-30, will ‘no longer be held as planned’. The AIFF, she said, also ‘loses all its membership rights as of 14 August 2022 until further notice.’
“AIFF representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted. This also means that neither the AIFF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA and/or the AFC,” Samoura said.