The tournament has been placed in doubt as the impasse over the election of a new AIFF committee drags on.
FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) have threatened to impose a ban on India as well as take away the rights to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup. They have cited ‘alleged deviations’ in the roadmap agreed for the upcoming All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections.
Recently, the Supreme Court issued an order to have the AIFF elections before September 15. However, the court made some deviations of their own about how it would go. It stated that an interim body would be created first. This body would only be active for three months and be decided by a voting committee of 36 former footballers.
FIFA’s letter to AIFF
In a letter sent to AIFF general secretary Sunando Dhar, FIFA and AFC have demanded to see an ‘official transcription‘ of the Supreme Court’s decision made on August 3.
They also stated their displeasure at the recent decisions made. The letter stated, “As per the said roadmap, the AIFF was to call for a special general assembly in the first week of August 2022 to approve new statutes worked upon with FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community.”
It further added, “Unfortunately, we have been informed that Supreme Court’s hearing held yesterday (Wednesday) on the situation of the AIFF allegedly resulted in deviations from the aforementioned roadmap. If this is considered to be true, it would irrefutably jeopardize the mutual understanding which was displayed so far on the steps forward.”
FIFA threatens to ban India citing third-party involvement
FIFA has been clear from the get-go that there should not be any third-party involvement jeopardizing the AIFF constitution issue. They have claimed that the Supreme Court’s involvement seems to be doing just that.
In a final warning to the AIFF, the letter stated, “Upon receipt of the said documentation and following its in-depth analysis, should there exist serious deviations from the aforesaid roadmap, we would submit the matter to our relevant decision-making body for further considerations and possible decisions based on FIFA statutes, including the suspension of AIFF and withdrawal of hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.”
If the AIFF are unable to mend their ways to suit FIFA’s own statures, they could face a lengthy ban. That would mean that the Indian national team would not be able to compete in any friendly games or tournaments. It would also probably put their chances of competing in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in grave danger.
Moreover, the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – scheduled to start on 11 October – could be shifted from India as well. The AIFF are yet to comment on the letter. But, they will need to act fast to avoid any serious punishment from FIFA or AFC.