Indian Football Comes Out As The Biggest Loser As FIFA Suspends AIFF
Indian Football Suffers Major Blow Amid Power Tussle Between Political Bigwigs

The ban has brought forth a cloud of uncertainty over Indian football.

FIFA, the global governing organization for football, has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect, owing to an “undue influence from the third party”. 


“The Bureau of the Fifa Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the Fifa Statutes,” read an official statement from FIFA.

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The “third party” is a reference to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), which came in place earlier this year in May 2022. Anyone with even a passing interest in Indian football could see it coming. The writing was on the walls, ever since the CoA came into effect, and with a timely election, they could have avoided the ban. 


Last month, a joint delegation of FIFA and AFC visited India, conducted a meeting with key stakeholders, and issued the deadlines to adopt a new constitution by 31 July.

The suspension will be revoked only after AIFF administrators assume full authority. “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once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” added FIFA.

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Why Did Supreme Court Need To Interfere?

Going by FIFA’s official explanation, it is easy to assume Supreme Court is the main villain in this episode. But they were compelled to take this step after AIFF president Praful Patel already passed the permissible tenure in 2020, and refused to hold the election in the next couple of years. 


As per the National Sports Code, under whose purview Indian football comes, the federation chief can’t cling on to his post for more than 12 years. Patel completed the maximum limit two years ago, but kept waiting for the amendments in the constitution. Supreme Court had to step in, and they relieved Patel from the role before appointing a committee of administrators, led by Dr. S.Y Quereshi.

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The CoA has already sent the final draft to Supreme Court, and is now waiting for its approval. However, numerous state units of the AIFF expressed their displeasure over the CoA’s recommendation. The CoA wanted 50% representation from eminent players in the AIFF executives, extending FIFA’s recommendation by 25%.


What Will Be The Impact Of the FIFA Ban? 

The ban has brought a cloud of uncertainty over Indian football. The impact will be felt from the top tier of the international men’s team to the grassroots level of the game. 

The U-17 Women’s World Cup, originally set to be staged in India from 11 October, will be shifted elsewhere if the AIFF and CoA don’t correct their course immediately. If that happens, the Indian team will lose the chance to play in this tournament by virtue of being hosts. 

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“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,” the statement from FIFA said.


Moreover, the men’s national side will not be able to compete in the international arena. Igor Stimac, the head coach, has arranged two friendlies for Team India, against Vietnam and Singapore, next month. The match will not be held if the ban persists. 

Moreover, Stimac, in the past, had also indicated to leave the job if the situation does not ameliorate. This will be a heavy blow for the Indian men’s team, who has qualified for the next year’s Asian Cup under Stimac’s stewardship. 

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Even the clubs will be unable to sign foreign players as long as the ban stays. This will reduce the quality of the domestic leagues. 


Lead Image: Indian Football

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