Indian football | FIFA sets deadline for AIFF constitution approval and elections to avoid ban

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On the conclusion of its three-day visit of the country, the team, led by Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Windsor John, made it clear that the deadlines will have to be followed strictly

On the conclusion of its three-day visit of the country, the team, led by Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Windsor John, made it clear that the deadlines will have to be followed strictly

The visiting FIFA-AFC team on Thursday set deadlines to clean up the Indian football mess, asking the stakeholders to get the constitution of the national federation approved by July 31 and conduct elections by September 15, failing which the country could be banned by the world body.

On the conclusion of its three-day visit of the country, the team, led by Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Windsor John, made it clear that the deadlines will have to be followed strictly.

U-17 World Cup rights at stake

A FIFA ban would mean the Women’s U-17 World Cup, to be held in October, taken away from the country.

“It has been made clear by the joint FIFA-AFC team that the deadlines will have to be strictly adhered to. If not, the country can be banned and U-17 Women’s World Cup will be taken away,” a top source, who is privy to the discussions, told PTI on condition of anonymity.

“FIFA wants enough time for the new office bearers to prepare for the U-17 Women’s World Cup, that is why the September 15 deadline for elections so that the elected office bearers can take charge by September 20.

“Now, the ball is in the CoA’s court to help the new constitution of the AIFF get approved by July 31. The state associations have also pledged all possible help.”

Supreme Court intervention

Last month, the Supreme Court ousted the Praful Patel-led dispensation in the AIFF and appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to frame a new constitution and hold elections for a new set of office bearers.

The next date or hearing is July 21 (though it is written July 23 on docket). Once the Supreme Court gives the green signal, the new constitution is expected to be approved within seven days.

Special General Body Meeting

The state associations in the morning passed a resolution to call a Special General Body Meeting within seven days of approval by the SC.

“We have passed a resolution to call a General Body Meeting within seven days of SC approval of the constitution. Ultimately, the General Body will have to approve the new constitution, otherwise it (constitution) will not be a valid document,” a state association official said.

“After that we have to send it to FIFA for final approval.”

The meeting, attended by 35 state associations, also passed a resolution to hold the AIFF elections within 30 days of the approval of the constitution by the General Body, instead of 50 days.

“We had to pass the resolution to hold elections within 30 days because of the short time line. If we set 50 days, it will be difficult to hold elections on September 15,” the state official said.

On its part, the CoA will collect all the suggestions/submissions from the stakeholders by June 30, and it will prepare a draft constitution by July 7. The draft will be circulated to invite for objections so that the final proposed constitution will be ready by July 15.

“The CoA feels that if the objections are raised later on, there could be delays and it could be difficult to meet the deadlines.”

The visiting team met the representatives of the I-League and ISL clubs. It also met the ISL organisers FSDL. It later had a meeting with all the stakeholders together. This was the second time the delegation met the CoA.

Promotion-relegation suggestion

In the meeting with I-League clubs, one participant suggested that the ISL should start promotion and relegation from this season itself.

On Wednesday, the visiting team met Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. On the first day of its visit, it met Patel, who is also a member of the powerful FIFA Council.

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