Khel Now talks to the recently anointed head of FIFA Governance Committee from India, Justice Mukul Mudgal.
Indian football has been on an upward curve for the last few years especially after their recent success of breaking into the top 100 of the coveted FIFA rankings. However, in its long association with the global game, India’s noteworthy success at the global stage has been quite modest.
If a question is thrown up to all the football enthusiasts in the country to name the Indian to hold the highest every position in FIFA, the answer would mostly point out to our past and present Presidents (Priya Ranjan Das Munshi or Praful Patel) being a part of few committees.
But correct answer though is the name of Justice Mukul Mudgal. The former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana court was very recently elected as the head of FIFA Governance Committee. This in itself is a matter of pride for many Indians. An Indian judicial specialist has been roped in by the FIFA to lead investigation probes, ethics code and general governance issues related to the World Game.
“I come from a family full of musicians, I am the only non-musician in my family,” mentioned Justice Mudgal about his growing up. “I was always enthusiastic about sports, the foundation was laid during School days at Modern School, Barakhamba road, I then went onto becoming a member of University Water Polo team and was almost scolded by my Chemistry professor for missing classes,” quipped the main man who led the investigation into the IPL Match fixing scandal.
Justice Mudgal’s journey to FIFA has not been instant though, his first tryst with high profile legal supervision came into limelight when he led the investigation into the IPL scandal. It was in 2016 when AFC had roped in the services of Justice Mudgal as a part of a special task force in a bid to utilise his expertise to curb corruption in Asian Football.
“The mandate is the clean football in Asia, we are working towards it,” the former Chief Justice was quoted saying to the Times of India in May 2016. Mudgal’s appointment in FIFA was cleared after he was elected to head the Governance panel during the 67th FIFA Congress held in Manama in Bahrain.
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Shredding some light into his love for Sports and football in India, Mr Mukul Mudgal expressed, “I was a huge sports buff, and I would make it a point to watch almost all the matches held at Feroze Shah Kotla, my days though were of the Test matches era.”
“I had regularly watched Football matches from close quarters, I was a regular attendee for the now defunct DCM trophy and the Durand Cup tournament which was held at the Ambedkar Stadium in Old Delhi,” said the highest Indian football functionary at the global stage.
“To be honest it is a huge honour to be a part and be leading the FIFA Governance committee, I feel proud to represent India and Asia at the FIFA through my appointment,” exclaimed Justice Mudgal while delivering the keynote address at the first ever Sports Law and Policy Symposium held in Bengaluru.