Indian Football Crisis
One could see the sports ministry’s action, which came a day before a vital hearing before the top court, as an effort to save the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
The central government filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Sunday, pleading for an end to the “mandate” of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), as sought by the international governing body, in a desperate attempt to have the FIFA ban on AIFF lifted. (Also in Football)
One could see the sports ministry’s action, which came a day before an important hearing of the top court, as an effort to save the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, which is slated to take place in October.
Due to “third party meddling,” the international body had on August 15 banned the All India Football Federation (AIFF), stating that the women’s age-group championship “cannot now be staged in India as scheduled.”
In its application, the government essentially conceded to all of FIFA’s demands, including eliminating the SC’s ability to select the CoA and prohibiting individual elector participation.
It did specify that the dismissed Praful Patel-led government couldn’t participate in the AIFF, though.
The application stated, “This Hon’ble Court may be pleased to…direct that the CoA will not have any role in the administration of AIFF from 22.08.2022, and that the AIFF administration led by the acting Secretary General shall be responsible for the day-to-day management of AIFF to the exclusion of the earlier elected body.
“… to compel the CoA to provide the final draft constitution to this Honorable Court by the close of business on August 23, 2022, and to declare the CoA’s mission to be fully completed as of August 23, 2022.”
In a statement, the FIFA insisted that the CoA’s authority must be completely revoked before the suspension of the AIFF can be eased.
According to FIFA, the AIFF management should “completely control the AIFF’s daily operations.”
The AIFF general assembly should choose a “independent electoral committee to oversee the election of a new executive committee,” according to the international organization.
Additionally, it had said that the AIFF’s elections must be based on the organization’s current membership (i.e state associations only without individual members).
The procedure of submitting candidacy papers was finished on Saturday after the SC cleared the holding of the AIFF elections on August 28.
Seven contenders, including the illustrious Bhaichung Bhutia, have submitted their nominations for the position of president; however, the returning officer rejected two of them on Sunday after the proposer and seconder claimed they had not signed any candidate’s nomination papers.
Bhutia’s candidacy might be called into question if the SC accepts one of the government’s arguments, according to which eminent players aren’t allowed to be individual members of the electoral college. This is because Bhutia was both sponsored and seconded by eminent players.
The government’s appeal noted that because of the proposed changes to the electoral college, the election process “may need to be started ‘de novo’.” The legality of some nomination forms that may have been offered or seconded by player members who are now praying to be removed from the voters’ list may be impacted by the alteration in the voters list.
The government also requested that the highest court’s order from August 3 be modified, but insisted that the returning officer and his assistant, who had been chosen by the CoA to oversee the August 28 AIFF elections, be permitted to carry on.
“… straight for election from the stage indicated on 13.08.2022, the election notification date, based exclusively on the voters list containing representatives of member associations, which has already been published, excluding the 36 players.
“and be pleased to designate such modified dates as this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to define for the completion of all election phases up to the counting of votes and declaration of results.”
The government additionally proposed that the Executive Committee of the AIFF comprise 23 people, including six eminent athletes.
“The president, treasurer, and one vice president will be chosen by the electoral college described earlier from among the 17 members.
“The six notable payers will be made up of two women and four men. The prominent actors, who make up around 25% of the EC’s representation, may be nominated (co-opted) into the EC and will have voting rights there.
government claimed that “The country’s problems are severe, thus it is crucial that neither India loses its right to host the coveted FIFA Under-17 Women World Cup in 2022 nor that its talented football players—regardless of their age—be prevented from competing in international tournaments.
“The only viable option and one that will serve the interests of the country more broadly is an indulgence by this Hon’ble Court.
This Hon’ble Court has the authority to uphold the law in its entirety, and this would be one of the most exceptional cases in which it would be necessary to deviate from the letter or spirit of the law in order to uphold the law.