Bengaluru, November 13: The Supreme Court on Saturday (November 11) handed the All India Football Federation a reprieve when it stayed the Delhi High Court order brushing aside the elections of the body's office-bearers. However, the Apex Court appointed a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to draft a constitution for the AIFF which will be compliant with the National Sports Code.
The functioning of this CoA is not similar to that of the committee appointed to take care of cricket's governing body Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Here, the committee, comprising former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi and former India football team captain Bhaskar Ganguly, will only draft the constitution in eight weeks with the help of the AIFF office-bearers. Quraishi's name had already been announced by the Delhi HC. Ganguly's appointment as the ombudsman to committee came to light upon examining the SC order.
In essence though, it means that AIFF president Praful Patel and his executive committee members will stay in-charge of the AIFF until the new or modified constitution is prepared by the CoA. After 10 weeks, the SC will modify its order to suggest the way ahead for the AIFF.
Pronouncing its order, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said: "SY Quraishi and Bhaskar Ganguly are appointed as the Committee of Administrators (Ombudsmen) for formulation of Constitution of the Federation, which will be in consonance with the National Sports Code and the Model Guidelines for the conduct of its business, constitution of the Executive Committee and elections thereto, whilst ensuring that the status and membership of Petitioner Federation is not undermined in any manner in the International Body (FIFA). They shall prepare the draft Constitution and submit the same within eight weeks along with their report, in a sealed cover before this Court."
The AIFF office-bearers, however, have to extend their cooperation to the CoA in preparing the new constitution. "We place on record the stand taken by the AIFF before us that the present elected body of the AIFF is committed to extend its full cooperation to the CoA for formulation of the proposed Constitution," the order says.
Why did the SC stay the Delhi HC verdict?
The AIFF argued that if an administrator (Quraishi) runs the federation as ordered by the Delhi HC, it would amount to third party influence in the eyes of the FIFA. The world's governing body for football, FIFA, may go on to suspend the AIFF like in the case of Pakistan, the AIFF said. The counsel for AIFF pointed out that Pakistan were handed a suspension after a court ordered an administrator to take over the Paksitan Football Federation.
If the AIFF is indeed banned, then India will not be able to bid for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, the counsel added, saying the AIFF is committed to hosting another international event after successfully conducting the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
Sports activist and advocate Rahul Mehra, on whose petition the Delhi HC order was given, stuck to his guns, saying the AIFF elections conducted in December 2016 did not conform to the National Sports Code.
Rahul Mehra's claim that he has done seven years research on fate of football in India was deflated by CJI Dipak Misra who asked him to explain what is a 'Right Back".— Dhananjay Mahapatra (@toi_dhanajayM) November 10, 2017
Mehra could not explain what role is assigned to a "right back" in a football team during a match.— Dhananjay Mahapatra (@toi_dhanajayM) November 10, 2017
The SC, taking into consideration that the AIFF may be suspended if the Delhi HC verdict is followed, nullified the same.
The bench added: "While formulating the proposed Constitution, the CoA may take into account the suggestions given by Mehra, if any. After the report of the CoA, along with the proposed Constitution, becomes available, further directions as may be necessary can be issued."
Failure to run a proper domestic league, no control over State FAs, zero infrastructure development, dodgy deals with commercial partners, sham elections.— The Indian League (@T_IndianLeague) November 11, 2017
But CJI be like, no lets not talk about that. Explain me abt a position that has been obsolete for decades.
One of the greatest goalkeepers that India has ever produced, Ganguly captained India to the quarter-finals of the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.
He was an East Bengal legend, having represented the club for a decade. He has also played for Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting.
He was also the one who spotted the Bhaiching Bhutia when he went as a spotter for the Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup.
(With PTI inputs)