Hold elections by September 15 to avoid ban: FIFA tells AIFF

Praful Patel
Praful Patel has served his three terms as AIFF president. File photo: IANS

Mumbai: World governing body FIFA has told the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to complete changes to its constitution and elect new office-bearers by September 15 to avoid being banned, officials said.

The Supreme Court disbanded the AIFF executive committee led by FIFA Council member Praful Patel last month after it failed to hold elections on time and amend its regulations in line with rules stipulated by the National Sports Code.

The apex court then appointed a three-member committee to run the body, amend the AIFF's constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months.

FIFA statutes say that member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries and the world governing body has previously suspended other national associations over similar cases.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation sent a team led by AFC General Secretary Windsor John to meet Indian football stakeholders, including Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, on a three-day visit that concluded on Thursday.

"The meetings concluded that the next steps should be the ratification of the AIFF statutes in line with FIFA/AFC principles of good governance and the holding of an electoral congress to choose the next AIFF leadership," the AFC said in a statement.

"This would be based on a timeline agreed by AIFF stakeholders."

Shaji Prabhakaran, chief of the Delhi FA and former FIFA regional development officer, said on Twitter the AIFF had been given a deadline of July 31 to amend its statutes and September 15 to conclude its election.

"FIFA-AFC delegation has given us a strict timeline. It is on us to avoid FIFA ban," he added.

A ban could see India losing their hosting rights for the Under-17 Women's World Cup in October.

The elections of the AIFF were to be held by December, 2020, but were delayed due to an impasse over amendments to its constitution.

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