FIFA has suspended the Indian Football Association due to ‘undue influence by third parties’, amid concerns over judicial interference after India’s Supreme Court appointed a three-member panel to take charge the day-to-day operations of the federation.
FIFA said in a press release on Tuesday that the involvement of a “third party” in India’s football association, the Indian Football Federation (AIFF), was against their statutes, adding that the suspension would be lifted if the Supreme Court’s decision were overturned and “the AIFF administration regains full control of the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF.
As part of the move, FIFA also scrapped India’s hosting of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
The decision by football’s governing body comes after India’s Supreme Court appointed the committee to take over the “day-to-day governance” of the AIFF in May after its chairman, Praful Patel, failed to organize the elections originally scheduled for December 2020.
In June, FIFA organized a joint trip to India with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) where it “held constructive discussions with local stakeholders regarding the situation at the AIFF”.
“The meetings concluded that the next steps should be the ratification of the AIFF statutes in accordance with FIFA/AFC principles of good governance and the holding of an electoral congress to choose the next leadership of the AIFF. based on a timetable agreed by AIFF stakeholders,” FIFA said.
However, just over two months after the joint trip, FIFA announced the suspension of the AIFF.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the Indian Football Association (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence by third parties, which constitutes a serious breach of the FIFA Statutes,” says the press release.
“The suspension will be lifted once an order establishing a committee of trustees to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of day-to-day affairs. of the AIFF.”
In a letter from FIFA Secretary General – Fatma Samoura – to its member associations, Samoura said: “The AIFF representative and club teams are therefore no longer allowed to participate in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.
“This also means that neither the AIFF nor any of its members or officials can benefit from development programs, courses or training from FIFA and/or the AFC. Furthermore, we remind you and to your affiliates, not to enter into sporting contact with the AIFF and/or its teams while the AIFF is suspended.
Regarding the U17 Women’s World Cup, which is due to start on October 11, the statement read: “FIFA is assessing the next steps regarding the tournament and will bring the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.
“FIFA is in constant constructive contact with India’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and hopes that a positive outcome to the case can still be achieved.”
In a statement published on the AIFF website, the committee in charge of the management of the AIFF – the Committee of Administrators (CoA) – expressed its “surprise and disappointment” at FIFA’s decision to suspend the federation.
“It is unfortunate to see such a directive from FIFA at a time when every effort was being made to get Indian football back on track,” said CoA Chairman Justice (Ret’d) Anil Dave. “That being said, we are constantly in talks with all stakeholders, including FIFA, to find the right solution to this situation and restart the process.
“It is truly deplorable that for almost [the] last two years, the body, whose mandate had already ended, had continued in an absolutely undemocratic and illegal manner, no action was taken. But when the Honorable Supreme Court issued an order to redress the situation so that a democratically elected body would take matters into its own hands, and when the CoA and the Ministry of Sports were doing their best to implement the Order of the Honorable Supreme Court, the suspension order was issued by FIFA.