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FIFA suspends All India Football Federation | News | DW

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FIFA announced on Monday that it will suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect.

The decision was “due to undue influence by third parties”, which is a serious violation of FIFA’s statutes, the organization’s governing body said.

The AIFF is in a state of chaos and is run by administrators after long-serving former chief Praful Patel remained in office after the maximum term of 12 years without new elections, which were declared invalid by the courts.

Patel, who has held a number of high profile government positions in addition to his AIFF position, has been leading Indian football since 2009. Government ministers combine their political work with leading major sports federations is the norm in India.

“Indian sport is full of these politicians,” sports journalist Norris Pritam, who has covered Indian sport for 40 years for various publications, told DW.

“And whether it’s football, or cricket, or athletics or hockey, and there have been threats from international federations to other national federations.”

For now, football is in the spotlight. New AIFF elections will be held on August 28 and the polling process began last week, after the Indian Supreme Court approved a timeline prepared by the administrators.

India will not host upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

The suspension means that the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which is scheduled for October 11-30 in India, cannot currently be held in the country as scheduled. Patel played an important role in the tournament awarded to India.

Pritam says there is still a strong belief in the country, at the governmental and social levels, that the tournament can go ahead and that a solution can be found. But he added: “This is a big blow to Indian football, especially for those girls who have gone to football in a big way. And also internationally you are put in a bad light.”

FIFA is assessing the next steps regarding the tournament. The organisation, led by Gianni Infantino, says it is in constant contact with India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and hoped that a positive outcome could still be achieved.

India’s highest court dissolved the AIFF in May and appointed a three-member committee to govern the sport, amend the AIFF’s constitution and hold elections that have been pending for 18 months.

Indian national team footballers celebrate a goal

India’s national teams cannot participate as long as their governing body is suspended

In response, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation sent a team led by AFC Secretary General Windsor John to meet with stakeholders of Indian football and prepare a roadmap for the AIFF to amend its statutes by the end of July and to complete the elections by 15 September at the latest. .

“The suspension will be lifted once an order to create a committee of trustees to take over the powers of the AIFF executive committee is revoked and the AIFF administration regains full control of the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF” FIFA said in a statement.

No games for Indian men or women

The ruling also means that Indian men’s and women’s national teams will not be able to play international competitions for juniors or seniors for the time being.

Former master captain Bhaichung Bhutia called the suspension “very severe”.

“At the same time, I think it’s a great opportunity to get our system right,” he told Indian sports news station Sportstar. And [it’s] It is very important that all stakeholders, the federations, state associations, the Ministry of Sport, come together to get the system right and that everyone works to improve the sport.”

Pritam echoed those sentiments, but said he believes India’s status as a “money spinner” in FIFA’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and political will would quickly resolve this. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised and promised that everything will be fine. So I think the national prestige is also at stake. So I think both sides will understand this.”

According to FIFA statutes, affiliated federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries to be part of the organization. FIFA has previously suspended other national associations over similar concerns. This year alone, Pakistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe have been suspended.

Edited by Chuck Penfold.

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