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New Delhi: India was on Tuesday suspended by world football governing body FIFA for “undue influence from third parties” and stripped the country of the right to host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled for October.
This is the first time the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year history.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” the FIFA said in a statement.
“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once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.”
On May 18, the Supreme Court had ousted Praful Patel as AIFF president for not holding elections due in December 2020 and appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), headed by former top court judge A.R. Dave, to manage the affairs of the AIFF.
The CoA also had to frame its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.
The FIFA though is not closing all options for India as it said it is in talks with the sports ministry and hopeful of a positive outcome regarding the women’s age group showpiece event.
“The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned. FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.
“FIFA is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved.”
On August 5, FIFA had threatened to suspend the AIFF and strip of its right to host the women’s U-17 World Cup, days after the Supreme Court’s directive to hold elections of the national federation.
The Supreme Court on August 3 directed the executive committee of the AIFF to expeditiously hold elections as per the schedule proposed by the CoA, which is currently running the affairs of the national federation.
The elections are to be held on August 28 and the poll process began on August 13, as the top court approved the timeline prepared by the CoA.