Bad news for Indian football players and fans. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect. FIFA said the decision was taken due to a violation of the rules. FIFA has taken this decision due to third party intervention. This is the first time that AIFF, which was formed in 1937, has been banned by FIFA.
Due to this FIFA suspension, the Women’s Under-17 World Cup to be held in India from October 11-30 has also been cancelled.
The AIFF elections, earlier led by FIFA Council member Praful Patel, were scheduled to be held by December 2020 but were delayed due to a deadlock over amendments to its constitution. India’s Supreme Court dissolved the AIFF in May and appointed a three-member committee to administer the game, amend the AIFF’s constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months.
Earlier this month, an Indian court ordered snap elections.
“The suspension will be lifted after the AIFF Executive Committee’s powers are revoked and the AIFF administration regains full control over the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF, following an order to form a committee of administrators,” FIFA said in a statement on Monday. “FIFA continues to be in constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and hopes that this case can still have a positive outcome,” FIFA added.
It may be noted that according to FIFA’s statutes, member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries. FIFA has previously suspended other national associations in similar cases.
It is noteworthy that Indian captain Sunil Chhetri recently gave a statement regarding the suspension. He told his teammates not to take FIFA’s warning seriously. According to media reports, Chhetri asked the players to focus only on their game.