No elections in AIFF’s AGM, FIFA tells it to fulfil obligations like managing affairs independently
The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) will hold its Annual General Body Meeting in virtual mode on Monday, with the elections of its office bearers set to be kept in abeyance. The four-year term of the current executive committee ends on Monday and under normal circumstances, the elections would have to be held during the AGM with Praful Patel, who has been AIFF president since 2012, ineligible to contest as per the Sports Code.
The AIFF last month moved an application before the Supreme Court, seeking continuation of its existing executive committee beyond its term on the ground that the court-appointed administrators are yet to frame a new constitution to conduct elections.
“There was no election process such as appointment of returning officer, filing of nominations for various posts etc. So, there will be no elections. But we don’t know whether a resolution will be passed to extend the term of existing executive committee,” a top official of a member unit of the AIFF said.
“The AIFF moved the Supreme Court to extend the term of the Executive Committee. But the matter has not come up for hearing till now. So, the AIFF best knows what is going to happen tomorrow.”
A FIFA spokesperson simply said that it expects the AIFF to fulfil its obligations under Article 14 of the statutes of the world body. “FIFA is in contact with the AIFF in relation to the upcoming electoral process. While respecting the principle of autonomy, FIFA expects all its member associations to fulfil their obligations in line with article 14 of the FIFA Statutes,” the FIFA spokesperson told PTI.
The Article 14 of FIFA Statutes mainly relates to members associations’ obligations to follow Standard Statutes of the world body, to manage their affairs independently and not get influenced by any third parties, to comply fully with the Statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of FIFA bodies as well as the decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The agenda of the AGM issued early this month only mentioned election of office bearers, if applicable. It had said that it will wait for the directions of the Supreme Court and will accordingly modify the agenda of the AGM.
The Supreme Court, in a 2017 order, had appointed a Committee of Administrators comprising former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi and Bhaskar Ganguli to formulate the constitution of the AIFF in consonance with the Sports Code. Quraishi, however, had refuted AIFF’s claims that he had sought more time to prepare the draft constitution of the sports body, saying the document has already been submitted to the apex court.
He said the Committee of Administrators had finalised the draft constitution in December last year and submitted it to the SC in January this year in a sealed cover as directed by the apex court.
Former India goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking to direct the AIFF to hold elections “at an early date”. Under the Sports Code, the president of a national sports federation can hold office for a maximum three terms or 12 years.
Patel, a former union minister, served as acting president for one year after long-time head Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi suffered a cardiac arrest in 2008. He took over as full-time president in October 2009 before being re-elected for the top job in December 2012 and 2016.