NEW DELHI: In continuing with the recent practice of state football
associations making themselves heard in order to find a solution to the issue of holding elections to the All India Football Federation Executive Committee
, on Thursday, Football Delhi
went a step further and passed a resolution at its own Executive Committee meeting appealing to the AIFF
to contact FIFA
and set up a Normalisation Committee in India, to run the daily affairs of the federation.
This is the first time a state association, by way of this unanimous resolution by its Executive Council, has made a formal appeal to the AIFF to find a solution by actively suggesting the way forward. “Delhi being the founder member of AIFF, makes a sincere appeal to the Executive Committee of AIFF to urgently contact FIFA administration to visit India for initiating the process to place a Normalisation Committee in India as the Executive Committee of Football Delhi considers it is an appropriate step in the best interests of Indian Football and AIFF,” Football Delhi’s letter to the AIFF said.
Praful Patel has completed three four-year terms as president of the AIFF, and according to the sports code, is ineligible to contest a fourth term. Elections, due in Nov-Dec 2020, were put on hold after his committee filed a stay citing a pending petition in court regarding amendment of the AIFF constitution.
Pointing out that the growing criticism in this impasse was greatly affecting work at the state level, Football Delhi also made a request to the member state associations “to support AIFF in fast tracking the process of placing a Fifa-constituted Normalisation Committee to run the affairs of the AIFF till the elections of the new Executive Committee. This situation is significantly impacting the game at every level. Moreover, when AIFF can’t take any major policy or financial decisions then development of football will suffer at every level.
“We can anticipate sooner or later an intervention from the court, with a possible appointment of an administrator to run the affairs of the Federation,” the letter added, which was also marked to Fatma Samoura, sec gen Fifa, Seri Windsor John, gen secy AFC, Mattias Grafstorm, dy sec gen Fifa, and Vahid Kardany, dy gen sec AFC, in addition to all 36 member associations of the AIFF.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea on Patel and his team’s alleged illegal continuation of office. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan told a bench comprising CJI NV Ramana that due to the non-hearing of a 2017 petition by the federation against Delhi High Court order which set aside the 2016 election of Patel, his committee has continued to stay in office. The bench agreed to Bhushan’s request for a hearing next week.
Football Delhi’s resolution follows its president, Shaji Prabhakaran’s letter to Patel last week, suggesting that in his capacity as FIFA Council Member, Patel seek the world body’s help to urgently place a Normalisation Committee in India till such time a new Executive Committee is elected.
Calling the measure “extreme and unprecedented”, Prabhakaran had nevertheless referred to an Apr 18, 2022 telephonic conversation between him and Patel on suggestions to the solution to the long-standing elections impasse, where the former suggested that the solution must come from the AIFF president as he has a “greater responsibility to save AIFF and football.”
Prabhakaran’s letter comes as response to the May 5 AIFF Executive Committee meeting where it was decided to take a second legal opinion whether the AIFF can go ahead with organising a Special General Body Meeting with an agenda to amend the constitution and declare elections. The Football Delhi head pointed to the high legal fees already in the excess of Rs 3.25 crores being incurred by AIFF to find a legal solution to the election over the past three years, without bringing any legal success.