India’s top court moves to restore soccer federation after FIFA suspension

New Delhi, Aug 22 (EFE).- The Indian Supreme Court on Monday took steps to regain international recognition for the All India Football Federation after the soccer body was suspended by FIFA last week, leaving the fate of the upcoming Under-17 Women’s World Cup hanging in the balance as it was set to be hosted by India in October.

Given the importance of the tournament, the top court ended the tenure of three-member committee of administrators (CoA) it had appointed in May to govern the AIFF until the bvody’s internal elections are held and its constitution was redrafted, legal news portal Bar and Bench reported.

The court also deferred the electoral process, allowing a one-week extension for holding the elections for AIFF’s executive committee, originally scheduled for Aug. 28.

In this regard, the court fixed Sep. 4 as the deadline for holding the elections, with the voter list set to consist of solely the 36 member state associations, as per FIFA guidelines.

The judicial body also ruled out former players voting in the polls, which was one of the reasons behind FIFA suspending the AIFF, as the world soccer body stipulates that external individuals cannot take part in voting.

The FIFA’s suspension of the Indian federation was based on “third party interference” by the CoA, and left the future of the Under-17 World Cup – set to be held in India between Oct. 11-30 – in limbo,

Although the FIFA said in a statement that it was still hoping for a “positive outcome” and the Indian authorities have not suspended preparations for the event, uncertainty persists among Indian players as the team had not played in the qualifiers for the tournament and could lose their direct spot as the host country.

The AIFF management ended up in the courts as it was not following the National Sports Code, with the top court in 2017 ordering the drafting of a new set of norms to regulate the elections and governance of the soccer body.

On Aug. 3, the Supreme Court had ordered that the internal elections – which have been pending for 18 months – to be held as per a new draft constitution, insisting that the polls could not be delayed further due to the scheduled U-17 World Cup. EFE


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