The apex court will next hear the matter on August 22 (Monday).

A day after FIFA imposed a ban on the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the Supreme Court asked the central government to take “proactive steps” and work with FIFA to ensure that the ban is lifted and that the FIFA U1-7 Women’s World Cup is held in the country as planned.

A bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Pardiwala passed the order on August 17 after being informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the government have held meetings with FIFA to “break the ice” and get the hosting rights for the U-17 Women’s World Cup back.

In a late-night order on August 15, FIFA suspended India with immediate effect for undue third-party influence. In its statement, FIFA had also said, “That the U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned” due to the suspension.

The matter was listed for urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on August 17th. Here is what came up through the proceedings.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra attacks Praful Patel and Co.

In May 2022, the apex court removed then AIFF president Praful Patel from office. It appointed a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the AIFF’s daily affairs. Patel and his executive committee were ousted for violating the National Sports Code and remaining in office beyond tenure. They stayed in-charge for almost two more years after the completion of their term, resulting in suspension of the stakeholders.

Regarding the FIFA ban, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra attacked the aforementioned stakeholders! He argued, “Some members of AIFF had stepped down, CoA took over and these members are orchestrating all of this. It is Mr. Patel who has orchestrated this.”

Solicitor General gives hope

Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta was present during the proceedings. Regarding the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, he said, “Considering several factors about what can be done, the Centre has taken it up as an issue. We took it up with FIFA and CoA also played a key role and there is some breaking of the ice which has taken place.”

Also, in a reply to Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra’s aforementioned statement, Mehta remarked, “If someone is interfering, should not interfere. Apart from the govt. and prestige of the country, I represent no one else.”

The Solicitor General also demanded harsh action against such interference. When the Supreme Court asserted its knowledge about the person being part of the government or someone from outside, Mehta claimed, “There should be harshest action then.”

Justice DY Chandrachud also commented on the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. He asserted, “Our focus is the country should have this event as it is really good for the U-17 athletes.”

SC adjourned the matter till August 22 after being requested for the same by the Solicitor General. “On the request of SG list on Monday. We request the Centre to take proactive measures to ensure holding of U-17 World Cup and lift the suspension on AIFF so the objective is duly achieved.”

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