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FIFA-AFC talk of ban and taking U17 World Cup away as it seeks details court order


The prospect of a FIFA ban and the women’s under-17 World Cup being taken away continues to loom over India even after the Supreme Court has ordered elections to the All India Football Federation (AIFF). A letter signed by FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura and Windsor John, the general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), saying as much reached AIFF late on Friday.

The letter addressed to Sunando Dhar, the acting general secretary of AIFF, states that if FIFA and AFC find “serious deviations” to what was discussed during a visit by their joint delegation in June, India could be denied the right to host the under-17 World Cup and be suspended. The letter asks AIFF to send the “official transcript” of the Supreme Court’s decision by 5pm Indian time on Tuesday.

“Upon receipt of the said documentation and following its in-depth analysis, should there exist serious deviations to the aforesaid roadmap, we would submit the matter to our relevant decision-making body for further considerations and possible decision based on FIFA Statutes, including the suspension of the AIFF and the withdrawal of hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India,” the letter says. HT has a copy of the letter.

The letter points out that as per discussion during the joint delegation’s visit to New Delhi between June 21 and 23, AIFF was “to call for a special general assembly on the first week of August 2022 to approve the new statutes worked upon by FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community.”

“Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Supreme Court’s hearing held yesterday (sic) on the situation of the AIFF allegedly resulted in deviations to the aforementioned roadmap. If this is considered to be true, it would irrefutably jeopardise the mutual understanding which was displayed so far on the steps forward,” the letter states.

“In this context, we would like to recall the AIFF’s statutory obligations applicable to all of FIFA and the AFC member associations, including the obligation to manage its affairs independently and ensure that its own affairs are not influenced by any third parties…,” says the letter.

In its order the division bench of Justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala has said the committee of administrators, appointed by the Supreme Court to run AIFF and frame the constitution, “shall be apprised of the decision of the elected body.”

On Wednesday, the court ordered elections, in keeping with the FIFA mandate that a democratically elected body should be in charge when the under-17 World Cup starts on October 11, by month-end. The office-bearers will be in charge for three months during which the AIFF constitution would be finalised, the Supreme Court order stated.

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