The Supreme Court is set to hear the matter on July 21.

Indian football edged closer to inviting the possibility of an international ban on itself after the All India Football Federation’s marketing partners Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) and state associations filed separate lawsuits in the Supreme Court over the final constitution draft, submitted by the CoA last Friday (July 15).

While the state associations, according to a report by TOI, have listed 22 objections to certain clauses in the draft, FSDL have objected that the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) ‘rejected’ their suggestions. The ISL organisers also mentioned in their court filing that the draft constitution ‘violates’ the long-term agreement (Master Rights Agreement) it entered into with the AIFF in 2010. And that certain provisions in the constitution draft are against the “development and promotion of football in India.”

“The applicant is constrained to approach this Hon’ble Court as certain exclusive rights and entitlements granted in favour of the applicant under a long-term agreement, i.e., the Master Rights Agreement dated 09.12.2010 (MRA) executed in the year 2010 by the AIFF are being totally disregarded and violated by virtue of certain provisions contained in the proposed Constitution of the AIFF. Further, the said provisions are also against the development and promotion of football in India,” FSDL was quoted as saying by the national daily in its lawsuit.

According to AIFF’s agreement with FSDL, a “new league” would enjoy the top status and its winner would get the sole direct AFC Champions League berth available to India. The Indian Super League (ISL), which is conceptualised and organised by FSDL since 2014 has been accorded the top league status in the country as per the agreement.

However, Article 1.50 of the final constitution draft states that the “Senior most top division league shall mean the league competition owned, operated, recognised, and directly managed by the AIFF, that implements the principles of promotion and relegation, and meets all requirements prescribed by the AFC for being eligible to obtain a direct slot in the Asian Champions League.”

It suggests that a league owned by the AIFF and not any third party would enjoy the status of being the country’s premier league and would get the direct ACL berth.

State Association’s Lawsuit

The member associations, represented by the seven-member panel, have written to FIFA and have also approached the Supreme Court over their differences with the final draft constitution. They have objected that several clauses in the final draft are discriminatory and against the National Sports Code.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the states have raised objection to Article 20.2 which states that every state FA have a former eminent player as one of the two voting members in the AIFF General Body. However, states have objected that ’eminent’ players cannot be state delegates to the AIFF or be members of the executive committee.

They have also demanded that the AIFF executive committee have five vice-presidents representing each zone. The final draft constitution has no provision for any vice-president in the 12-member executive committee.

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