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Ban on All India Football Federation: Supreme Court defers hearing till August 22

Gianni Infantino and Praful Patel

Bengaluru, August 17: The apex court of the country -- Supreme Court -- has deferred till August 22, the hearing on the case pertaining to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) after the Central Government said it is in discussion with football global governing body -- FIFA -- over holding of the Uner-17 Women's World Cup in India.

The court also asked the Central Government to take proactive steps to hold the World Cup in India and lift the suspension of AIFF.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Paridwala was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that two meetings have been held by the Central Government and Committee of Administrators (CoA) with FIFA and efforts are being made to break some ice on the holding of the U-17 Women's World Cup in India, reports PTI news agency.

The Explainer: A timeline of FIFA suspension and its possible implications on Indian football The Explainer: A timeline of FIFA suspension and its possible implications on Indian football

He requested that the matter be deferred till August 22 so that a consensus could be arrived at between the active stakeholders of the AIFF.

Court observation

Court observation

Mehta said that a few words from the court that the stakeholders are trying to sort this up will help them in their endeavour. The bench said it is a great international event for the U-17 children and it is only concerned with the fact that the tournament is held in the country.

If somebody from outside is trying to interfere with it, it would not be tolerated, it said. The bench asked the Union Government to play a proactive role in the matter and facilitate the lifting the suspension of AIFF.

Praful in the dock

Praful in the dock

On Tuesday (August 16), the FIFA had suspended India for undue influence from third parties and stripped the country of the right to host the U-17 Women's World Cup. India was scheduled to host the FIFA tournament from October 11 to 30. This is the first time that the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year-old history.

A ban on India was on the cards after the Supreme Court removed Praful Patel as AIFF president on May 18 for not holding elections due in December 2020. The court had appointed a three-member CoA, headed by former apex court judge AR Dave, to manage the affairs of the national federation.

Model guidelines

Model guidelines

The CoA, which has former Chief Commissioner of India SY Quraishi and ex India captain Bhaskar Ganguly as other members, also had to frame its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

In its statement, FIFA had said that the suspension was effective immediately and that the transgression - constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes.

Clarion call

Clarion call

While many Indian football greats including Bhaichung Bhutia have termed the FIFA's decision to ban AIFF very harsh, they are also seeing the positive sides of it to get the country's sport in order.

"Very unfortunate that FIFA has banned Indian football and at the same time I feel it's a very harsh decision of FIFA to ban Indian football," said Bhutia, one of the sport's icons in the country.

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Story first published: Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 12:39 [IST]
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