Praful Patel requests FIFA not to impose ban on India, urges to give time to complete the elections

After the Supreme Court reconstituted a committee of administrators (CoA) on May 18 to manage the affairs of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), former president of AIFF Praful Patel wrote a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, requesting him not to impose a ban on India.

Fearing a suspension from the world football governing body, Patel, in the capacity of FIFA Council Member, urged the sport’s world governing body to give India time till July-end to complete the election process.

“I request FIFA and AFC to not impose a suspension at this stage, but instead to consider this important aspect of the Supreme Court order and enter into a dialogue with the CoA to receive a commitment that the said timelines laid down by the Supreme Court would be respected and strictly followed without allowing for delays,” he wrote in a letter.

“I also appeal to the experienced legal teams of the AFC and FIFA to guide the CoA, if approached and need be, in the revision of the AIFF statutes,” Patel added.

Patel said that any suspension of the AIFF would also jeopardise the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers which India are hosting at Kolkata from June 8 2022 and for which all preparations have been completed.

“The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is scheduled to be held in three states across India from October 11-30, 2022, the — time ever a FIFA Women’s competition will be held in India and which is widely expected to boost the women’s game in my country,” he said.

The Supreme Court on May 18 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.

The CoA will also facilitate the adoption of the AIFF constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and P.S. Narasimha said the CoA will comprise Justice Dave, Dr. S.Y. Qureshi, former Chief Election Commissioner, and Bhaskar Ganguly, former captain of the Indian Football Team.

The bench had said that the CoA will assist the court in facilitating the adoption of the constitution by the AIFF in accordance with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

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