New Delhi: The visiting FIFA-AFC team set deadlines Thursday to clean up the Indian football mess. The FIFA-AFC team asked the stakeholders to get the constitution of the national federation approved by July 31 and conduct elections by September 15. If that doesn’t happen the country could be banned by the world body. If that happens, India may not be able to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup which is scheduled to be played this year in October. It certainly will be taken away and given to another country. In that case, Bhubaneswar will lose the chance to host matches of the Indian team.
The FIFA-AFC team concluded Thursday their three-day visit to India. The team, led by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Windsor John, made it clear that the deadlines will have to be followed strictly.
“It has been made clear by the joint FIFA-AFC team that the deadlines will have to be strictly adhered to. If not, the country can be banned and U-17 Women’s World Cup will be taken away,” a top source, who is privy to the discussions, said on condition of anonymity.
“The FIFA wants enough time for the new office-bearers to prepare for the U-17 Women’s World Cup. It is main reason why September 15 deadline has been given for elections so that the elected office-bearers can take charge by September 20. Now, the ball is in the CoA’s court to help the new constitution of the AIFF get approved by July 31. The state associations have also pledged all possible help,” the source added.
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Last month, the Supreme Court ousted the Praful Patel-led dispensation in the AIFF. It appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to frame a new constitution and hold elections for a new set of office-bearers. The next date or hearing is July 21 (though it is written July 23 on docket). Once the Supreme Court gives the green signal, the new constitution is expected to be approved within seven days.
The state associations passed Thursday morning a resolution to call a special general body meeting within seven days of approval by the apex court.
“We have passed a resolution to call a general body meeting within seven days of Supreme Court’s approval of the constitution. Ultimately, the general body will have to approve the new constitution, otherwise it (constitution) will not be a valid document,” a state association official said. “After that we have to send it to FIFA for final approval,” the official added.
The meeting, attended by 35 state associations, also passed a resolution to hold the AIFF elections within 30 days of the approval of the constitution by the general body, instead of 50 days.
“We had to pass the resolution to hold elections within 30 days because of the short time line. If we set 50 days, it will be difficult to hold elections September 15,” the official informed.
The visiting FIFA-AFC team also met the representatives of the I-League and ISL clubs. It also met the ISL organisers FSDL. It later had a meeting with all the stakeholders together. In the meeting with I-League clubs, one participant suggested that the ISL should start promotion and relegation from this season itself.
The visiting FIFA-AFC team met Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on the second day of its visit. On the first day, it met Patel, who is also a member of the powerful FIFA Council.