Days after the Supreme Court order ended Praful Patel’s tenure as All India Football Federation (AIFF) president, the politician-cum-sports administrator said that he was any way going to step down from his post after a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) was instituted by the Apex Court to look after the functioning the national football body.
The-65-year-old Patel claimed that the AIFF under him had broadly followed the Sports Code’s age and tenure clause.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday had constituted the CoA, headed by former apex court Judge AR Dave to manage the affairs of the federation, setting aside the current Executive Committee.
“I thank the Honourable Supreme Court for bringing finality to a long pending issue since 2017. The term of the elected committee expired in December 2020, and we had in November 2020 suo moto approached the Honourable Supreme Court for an early resolution of the matter, and appropriate directions. The AIFF constitution broadly follows the Sports Code 2011 for age and tenure limits, and therefore I was in any way going to step down from office, and neither was I eligible for re-election,” Patel said in a statement on Friday.
“During my tenure I have had the honour of serving Indian Football. I would like to thank all stakeholders of the football family including our players — both men and women, our State Associations, the clubs, AIFF officials, the media, the Union and State Governments, marketing partners and sponsors, and all the lovers of our beautiful game,” he added.
“I am very happy that we have been able to professionalise Indian football and that we have a very strong grassroots programme which in the coming years will catapult us to the next level, and find its true place and recognition in the global map.”
Patel rose to become AIFF chief in 2009 after then president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi suffered a cardiac arrest. At that time he was the senior vice-president.
Listing his achievements, Patel said that during his tenure, India hosted the first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup, and integrated the two leagues — I-League and Indian Super League– “with a proper roadmap of promotion and relegation”.
“India has also had the honour and privilege to host the first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup in India which was a resounding success. It brought international recognition and appreciation for the growth and popularity of football in India. I have also had the proud honour of being the Senior Vice president of the Asian Football Confederation, as well as being the first Indian representative to be duly elected to the FIFA Council with the highest number of votes,” he said.