Indian Football News: Threats against Indian football became a reality when FIFA, the world governing body of the game, suspended the All India Football Federation for “undue influence from third parties.”
The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was slated to take place from October 11–30, 2022, was also revoked by the FIFA council’s Bureau along with the ruling.
FIFA claimed in its statement that it was in contact with the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
If certain requirements were completed, there was a glimmer of optimism that the ban might only last a short time. But how did things end up in this situation?
Indian Football News: What events led to the ban?
The current wave of issues for Indian football started when the former AIFF president and FIFA council member Praful Patel refused to resign from his position as the nation’s football administrator. His justification for remaining on stage was the protracted pandemic and a legal dispute involving the AIFF constitution.
But on May 18, the Supreme Court took action and dismissed Patel. A Committee of Administrators (COA) was also chosen by the SC to oversee the AIFF. The tense relationship with FIFA that eventually resulted in the ban started with the establishment of this COA.
What is the ban, and how will it work?
FIFA has currently suspended the AIFF because of “third-party meddling.” Third-party intervention is when a FIFA member association loses control of its organisation, is co-opted, and is unable to maintain its independence. According to FIFA rules, the SC’s directive to the COA to manage the AIFF in this instance was a textbook example of third-party intervention.
First and foremost, the suspension entails a suspension of all international football for all national teams and age divisions. It also applies to all club teams in India and to both men’s and women’s football.
Additionally, the suspension affects any foreign transfers and any courses or professional development programs that AIFF officials would have been enrolled in. This effectively means that no football-related events can be held outside of India. However, local transactions and the national league can both go on.
What does FIFA want?
FIFA has said that two key issues must be resolved before the ban can be lifted in a letter to the AIFF’s interim general secretary. The COA’s mandate would need to be completely removed first. Second, the day-to-day management of the AIFF would have to be taken back into full control by the government.
The AIFF election should be held using the current AIFF membership structures. They are solely based on state associations. FIFA further noted in the letter that it wants the AIFF constitution updated in accordance with FIFA and the AFC’s standards.
What should we do going forward?
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hold a hearing (August 17). In essence, it will pit FIFA’s wishes against the SC’s verdict.
FIFA, a group that has in the past suspended nations for much less severe outside influence, will insist that all its requests be completed in order for the suspension to be lifted. There will need to be an agreement on these problems, either in court or later.
What will be the immediate impact of the ban?
Gokulam Kerala won’t be able to take part in the AFC Women’s Club Championship. The championship is held in Uzbekistan.
The AFC Cup team ATK Mohun Bagan may not be eligible to participate in Asia’s second-tier club competition. India’s chances of being drawn for the AFC Asian Cup are uncertain. Additionally uncertain is the junior national team’s participation in the AFC Cup trials.