FIFA suspends All India Football Federation: All we know
In what comes as a shocking piece of news, FIFA has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to "undue influence from third parties". FIFA informed about the development in a statement. As a result, India won't be able to host the Under-17 Women's football World Cup, which is scheduled to be held between October 11 and 30.
This is the first time in 85 years that the Indian football federation has been banned. "The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF's daily affairs," read a statement from FIFA.
In May this year, the Supreme Court suspended Praful Patel as AIFF president for refraining from elections due in December 2020. Therefore, a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), headed by judge AR Dave, was appointed to manage to affairs of the football federation. In August, FIFA urged the executive committee of AIFF to hold elections as per the schedule.
FIFA first warned of suspending the AIFF on August 5. It stated that India would be stripped of its rights to host the women's U-17 WC. The warning followed Supreme Court's directive to hold elections of the federation. Notably, the elections would now be held on August 28, with the poll process starting on August 13. The Supreme Court has approved the CoA-proposed timeline.
Indian legend Bhaichung Bhutia feels the decision to ban India from football is "harsh". "At the same time time I feel it's a great opportunity for us to get our system right. It's very important that all the stakeholders — the federation, the state associations, to come together and get the system right and everybody work for the betterment of Indian football," he added.
FIFA said that the suspension period will end once the AIFF administration regains full control of the federation's daily affairs. An order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF is expected soon. As far as the Under-17 Women's football World Cup is concerned, FIFA could discuss the next steps with Bureau of Council.
India is not the first nation to be banned from football. Iraq (2008), Nigeria (2014), Guatemala (2016), Kuwait (2015), Indonesia (2015), Pakistan (2017 and 2022), Chad (2021), Zimbabwe (2002), and Kenya (2022) are the other nations to have faced a similar fate.