The court adjudged that the AIFF’s presidential election did not abide by the National Sports Code.
The AIFF and Indian football could be close to receiving a fine in the near future, looking at the turn of events. After a hugely successful FIFA U-17 World Cup and AFC’s Data Windsor announcing that India will have a unified league from next season, the Delhi High Court has set aside the election of Praful Patel as the AIFF President, saying that the election did not follow the National Sports Code.
A panel comprising former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone and athlete Anju Bobby George brought out a comprehensive National Sports Development Code across all disciplines. In the 236-page document, the team had laid down intricate details of the working manual of every National Federation and the AIFF look to have breached some of it.
Delhi HC sets aside election of Praful Patel as All India Football Federation’s President, former CEC SY Quraishi made AIFF administrator.
— ANI (@ANI) October 31, 2017
The Delhi High Court have also ordered fresh elections in the AIFF within the next five months, and Indian football fans could see a new face at the helm before the draw for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 takes place in April. In the intermediary period, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S. Y. Quraishi has been made the AIFF administrator.
This comes as shocking news for both the Indian footballing fraternity and Praful Patel, who is also the senior Vice-President at the Asian Football Confederation. India may be close to facing a fine from FIFA, and all the hype and the stories of the rise of the game may subside and fall off. India’s neighbouring Pakistan Football Federation were recently banned from football’s governing body FIFA.
Delhi HC has also directed for fresh elections for AIFF within 5 months, also says previous AIFF election didn’t follow National Sports Code
— ANI (@ANI) October 31, 2017
Recently, FIFA decided to suspend the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated 10 October 2017 on account of undue third-party interference. The Bureau took this decision as a result of the fact that the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.
Praful Patel was reelected as the President of Indian Football’s governing body on 22nd December 2016 for his third term and he had promised to run the Federation in a ‘transparent manner’. Patel, a former Union Minister, served as acting president for one year after long-time head Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi suffered a cardiac arrest in 2008. He took over as full-time president in October 2009 before being re-elected for the top job in December 2012.
India, though, still have a little breathing space as the Court hasn’t directed to handover files like they did to Pakistan FA. Hopefully, FIFA keeps it’s calm and don’t jump to conclusions. This situation too, won’t lead to an immediate ban. FIFA gave Pakistan 2 years to sort out their issues. If the AIFF hold proper elections accepted by the HC in 5 months, then there shouldn’t be any ban.
In a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rahul Mehra, a sports activist, to the Delhi High Court, the issue of AIFF elections violating several provisions of the Sports Code was raised. In the PIL, Mehra had said, “I had got information that various sports bodies are going to polls clandestinely and violating all norms. The matter regarding the Indian Olympic Association, AIFF and Archery Association of India was placed before the court. Since the AIFF elections were already under process, it has now been stayed till the next date of hearing, while the IOA and archery association must conduct elections immediately.”
Possibly, keeping out the GFA could be AIFF’s undoing. The Sports Code states that each candidate must be nominated by one member association and seconded by another whereas, in AIFF’s electoral process, each candidate has to be nominated by five member associations.
During the judicial proceedings, Mehra had also stated that “This is an undemocratic clause where you are ousting a person even before he has filed his nomination,” said Mehra. “The AIFF has turned this into a farcical and undemocratic election.”
NOTE: Rahul Mehra’s quotes have been taken from an article published on The Fan Garage.