Lessons to be learned from the suspension of the AIFF


The suspension of the Indian Football Federation (AIFF) by international football governing body, FIFA, was a time bomb ready to explode. But it could have been easily defused had all parties involved exercised caution to “get the house in order”. International sports governing bodies do not encourage third-party interventions in national federations, a reason given by FIFA to justify its action. While the Supreme Court’s proactivity in disciplining offending sports administrators is welcome, the Court must also ensure that its guidelines help them meet the universally applicable standards of global governing bodies. The court did well to overthrow Praful Patel, who served as AIFF President for more than two years after his term ended. He then appointed a Committee of Trustees (CoA) to run the federation, draft a new constitution in line with the National Sports Code, and organize the long-awaited elections within a specified time frame.

A joint delegation from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation appeared to have no problem with the steps outlined by the court and the CoA’s roadmap for implementing them. What angered FIFA was a deviation from this roadmap and the inclusion of 36 “prominent players” in the Electoral College. The delegation had been assured that the elections would only take place after the draft constitution was finalized, but the court instructed the CoA on August 3 to hold the elections on August 28 and then finalize the constitution. FIFA, which had by then received several complaints from state units regarding numerous clauses of the draft constitution, disagreed with this. He notably objected to the presence of 36 players as voters, which would give equal representation to players and state units within the Executive Committee (EC). FIFA corresponded with the CoA, clarifying that player representation should not exceed 25% of the EC workforce so that the power of state units remains intact, in accordance with FIFA statutes. On August 15, however, the CoA went ahead and announced the names of 36 players, the proverbial last straw which broke the camel’s back and attracted an almost immediate letter from FIFA suspending the AIFF.

Damage control is enabled and a fix may be coming soon, but that should clear up the lesson. It is that sports administrators form a close-knit community and, while they encourage efforts to run national federations in accordance with local rules and regulations, they do not want to overlook actions that dilute the rules and authority of the sport. parent organism. Hockey India, Indian Table Tennis Federation and Indian Olympic Association are also currently governed by trustees. It is the responsibility of these committees to ensure that they too do not attract sanctions like the AIFF.

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