Bengaluru, May 18: The Supreme Court (SC) has appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to oversee the running of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) till elections are held to the game's governing body in the country.
The three-member CoA will be headed by retired SC judge Anil R Dave and will have former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Qureshi and ex-Indian football captain Bhaskar Ganguly as its other members.
The apex court came down heavily on AIFF, saying the current state of affairs is not in the interest of proper governance of the federation.
The SC further directed the CoA to take charge of the AIFF and assist the court by providing inputs to the court in facilitating the adoption of the constitution by the AIFF by the National Sports Code and model guidelines.
The bench said the COA will prepare electoral rolls for conducting elections to the executive committee of AIFF as per the constitution to be submitted by the committee.
"The committee of administrators shall carry out day-to-day governance of the AIFF", the bench said, adding the COA will be at liberty to take the assistance of the erstwhile committee of the federation in holding tournaments and selection of players and other affairs.
The bench said the newly constituted CoA shall sit in Football House at Dwarka or any other place of convenience.
The top court clarified that it was a pro-tem arrangement to facilitate the holding of elections and handing over the affairs to the democratically elected body by the constitution. It added that it is anticipated the elections are held at an expeditious date.
It may be recalled that on May 12, SC had agreed to hear a plea of the Delhi Football Club alleging the illegal continuation of a committee and Praful Patel as president of AIFF for over a decade.
The top court was told by lawyer Prashant Bhushan that an illegal committee is continuing to head the AIFF due to the non-hearing of a petition of the football body against the 2017 decision of the Delhi High Court.
"In 2017, the last election of the football federation was set aside by the Delhi High Court. When an Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed in this court, this court appointed a committee headed by former election commissioner and sports secretary Qureshi to prepare a Constitution for AIFF by the sports code. Even that has been done long ago," Bhushan had said.
Earlier, the Sports Ministry filed an affidavit in SC saying that Patel has no mandate to continue as AIFF president as he has already served three terms and the national body should hold elections without further delay.
The affidavit was filed concerning a SLP filed by the AIFF, and the sports ministry.
Patel completed his three terms and 12 years as AIFF president in December 2020, the maximum permitted to a national sports federation (NSF) chief under the Sports Code.
The AIFF, however, did not hold the elections, citing a pending petition in the Supreme Court regarding its constitution.
The AIFF had moved an application in SC only a month before its elections were due, seeking certain clarifications on the status of its constitution, which was under scrutiny in the apex court since 2017.
(With PTI inputs)