The Supreme Court will next hear the matter on July 28.

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) draft constitution, put together by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), was submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval on July 15. This came after FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had issued an ultimatum to AIFF to either get a new AIFF body in place by September 15 or risk facing a ban from international football.

The CoA, appointed by the apex court on May 18, is made up of Justice (retired) Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr SY Quraishi and former India captain Bhaskar Ganguly.

They put together the new constitution draft after speaking with all stakeholders in Indian football, which included the various state associations, the Indian Super League organisers FSDL and I-League clubs and FIFA and AFC among others. All suggestions were taken into account while putting together the new constitution, which would put the AIFF in line with the National Sports Code.

If the new constitution isn’t approved by July 31, it would be near impossible to complete the AIFF election within the September 15 deadline. Failure of which could lead to a FIFA ban. That does look like a possibility at this moment, as several points from the draft constitution have had everyone at loggerheads. Here are 10 big takeaways from the final draft constitution of AIFF.

1) ISL vs I-League

AIFF Draft Constitution ISL I-League
Will the ISL maintain its top-tier status or will the I-League return?

According to the draft constitution, “the senior-most league should be owned, operated, recognised and directly managed by the AIFF, that implements the principles of promotion and relegation.” That makes it difficult for the Indian Super League (ISL) to retain its top-tier status, giving whispers about the possibility of the I-League becoming the top-tier league once again.

State Associations have asked the CoA to remove the definition of ‘senior-most league’ in order to avoid conflict with existing commercial agreements.

2) Nomination of former player as a voting member from state associations

According to Article 20.2 of the final draft constitution, every full member shall be represented at the General Body meetings by two representatives, one of whom shall mandatorily include an ‘eminent’ player from that state.

The CoA defines an ‘eminent’ player as a former footballer, male or female, who has retired for at least two years and has represented India at the senior level in at least one game.

With both representatives set to have one vote each, the state associations are not happy with this provision and even see this as a violation of the sports code.

3) No provision for vice president in Executive Committee

The submitted draft constitution has no provision for any vice president in the 12-member executive committee. These 12 include the president, treasurer, five members and five players elected out of the representatives of the state associations.

If any position on the executive committee gets vacant, it is supposed to get filled no later than the next Annual General Meeting (AGM). Player representation has also been increased from 25 percent to more than 40 percent in the AIFF executive committee.

4) Consecutive terms for a president

According to the CoA, the post of a president can be occupied for two consecutive terms followed by a ‘cooling-off period’ of at least four years. This is not in line with the Sports Code, which dictates that a president can have three consecutive terms without the need of any break in the middle.

5) Removal of honorary positions

Besides the office Bearers in the Executive Committee, comprising of the president, treasurer, five members and five players elected out of the representatives of the state associations, no titular designation or other honorary position is to be created in the AIFF in any form, like ‘Life President’, ‘Chief Patron’, ‘Chairman’ and so on.

6) Prohibition of outsourcing positions within AIFF

The new draft calls for the prohibition of functions/roles (managing a competition) being delegated or assigned to ‘any other entity or organisation’ that isn’t the AIFF. This is another bone of contention as the Reliance-owned Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) currently runs the ISL. Officially, FSDL is termed AIFF’s marketing partner.

7) Restricting the number of terms

The CoA calls for classifying vice presidents and members of the AIFF executive committee as ‘principal office bearers’. This means several executive committee members will have a restricted term and tenure in the federation, one state associations are unwilling to accept.

8) Anyone can contest AIFF elections

As per the old constitution, only a member of the AIFF executive committee or state association could contest AIFF elections. However, the CoA has called for the removal of the restrictive clauses, essentially allowing anyone to contest AIFF elections. While many are unhappy with this, the sports code currently does not have any provision for including restrictive clauses.

9) Change in definition of officer bearers

The definition of officer bearers – president, treasurer and honorary general secretary in the sports code – has also been changed. This is expected to bar some big names from contesting AIFF elections, which does not sit right with many across the country.

10) Simultaneous roles with AIFF and member associations

According to the final draft constitution of AIFF, in the event a person is elected as an office-bearer in the executive committee of the AIFF and holds a position of an office-bearer in a member association, he/she shall automatically be deemed to have vacated his/her position in the member association.

At any given point in time, no office-bearer shall hold any office in any other federation or association (of a sport other than football) affiliated to the IOA directly or indirectly. If any person who already holds a post or office in the said federation or association is elected to the executive committee of the AIFF, he or she is expected to demit the previously held post forthwith.

These are the several contentious points from the draft constitution that has been submitted in the Supreme Court by the CoA. However, FSDL has also lodged a case against the same, and it remains to be seen how fast these get resolved, streamlining Indian football’s next steps.

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