The Supreme Court (SC) has assigned a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the All India Football Federation (AIFF) until elections for the governing body are held.
The three-member CoA will be led by retired Supreme Court judge Anil R Dave and will include former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Qureshi and ex-Indian football captain Bhaskar Ganguly.
The Supreme Court slammed AIFF, asserting the state of things is detrimental to the federation’s proper governance.
The SC also ordered the CoA to take control of the AIFF and help the court by offering insight into facilitating the adoption of the AIFF’s constitution by the National Sports Code and model guidelines.
The bench stated that the CoA will begin preparing electoral rolls for AIFF executive committee elections in accordance with the constitution to be forwarded by the committee.
“The committee of administrators shall carry out day-to-day governance of the AIFF”, the bench said, adding the CoA will be free to enlist the help of the federation’s former committee in organising tournaments, selecting players, and other matters.
The newly formed CoA will meet at Football House in Dwarka or any other convenient location, according to the bench. The SC stated that it was a pro-term structure to facilitate the holding of elections and the constitution’s handing over of affairs to the democratically elected body. It also stated that the elections take place at a convenient time.
On May 12, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition from the Delhi Football Club alleging the illegal continuation of a committee and Praful Patel as president of the AIFF for over a decade. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the Supreme Court that an illegal committee is still in charge of the AIFF due to the non-hearing of the football body’s petition against the Delhi High Court’s decision in 2017.
“In 2017, the last election of the football federation was set aside by the Delhi High Court. When a Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed in this court, this court appointed a committee headed by former election commissioner and sports secretary Qureshi to prepare a Constitution for AIFF by the sports code. Even that has been done long ago,” said Bhushan.
Previously, the Sports Ministry lodged a complaint in SC stating that Patel has no authority to continue as AIFF president because he has already fulfilled three terms and that the national organization should hold elections as soon as possible.
The affidavit was filed in connection with an SLP filed by the AIFF and the sports ministry.
Patel’s three terms and 12 years as AIFF president ended in December 2020, the maximum allowed for a national sports federation (NSF) president under the Sports Code. The AIFF, on the other hand, did not hold the elections, citing an awaiting Supreme Court petition regarding its constitution.
The AIFF had filed a petition in the Supreme Court only a month before its elections, asking for clarification on the status of its constitution, which had been under review by the apex court since 2017.