The Goan body wrote to the election’s Returning Officer in December 2016 bringing the illegalities to light.

From the frying pan and into the fire, this has been the story of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in recent times and it was left to the Delhi High Court to bring a premature end to the tenure of its office-bearers including President Praful Patel with its ruling dated October 31, 2017. The court found that Indian football’s governing body did not hold its elections in compliance with the National Sports Code.

Further, the court directed the AIFF should conduct a fresh election in five months with effect from the date of its ruling and appointed former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S. Y. Quraishi its administrator.

Now, Khel Now has learned that it was the Goa Football Association (GFA) which made the first move to bring the matter to light by bringing to the attention of the elections’ Returning Officer retired Justice BC Kandpal what it termed the ‘malpractices’ in the AIFF elections.

Documents exclusively in the possession of Khel Now show that the GFA in its letter to Justice Kanapal dated 6th December 2016, had brought to his attention the following issues:

  1. Breach of AIFF Statutes with regards to AIFF Executive Committee Elections
  2. Elections malpractice by AIFF senior vice president Mr Subroto Dutta
  3. Failure to adhere to Model Election Guidelines as per the National Sports Development Code 2011.

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Speaking to Khel Now, GFA President Elvis Gomes stated that he was pleased by the judgement of the court against the illegal practices of the federation.

Reacting to the manner in which the AIFF has recently treated the GFA Gomes said, “The AIFF also went on to say that we boycotted the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was uncalled for. We always supported it and we are proud that such a top-level tournament was held in our country.”

In the letter to the Returning Officer, the GFA has pointed out that Articles 23.2, Article 25.9 of the AIFF’s own constitution have also been violated.

Goa, with a vibrant football culture, has produced many renowned players who have made the country proud, but it was ironic that not a single player from the state featured in the Indian team that recently participated in the World Cup.

Elaborating on the poor turnout for the Junior World Cup games in Goa, Gomes said, “it was stated that the tickets were sold out and where were the tickets sold? If they were sold out why was the attendance so low? It is a conspiracy. The AIFF wanted to tarnish the image of Goa, which had been at the helm of the game in the country.”

“I am ready for a debate on all the issues from poor turnout to not including a single player from Goa in the Indian side. This is a well-planned move by the AIFF who went all the way to tarnish the image of Goa.

“At a time when everyone has been talking about the game getting a big lift after the World Cup, the AIFF has attempted to stall all the positive moves and with this decision of the honourable court I am sure like-minded people will come together and set things right for the betterment of the game,” said Gomes.