FIFA bans India; takes away hosting rights of women's under-17 World Cup

Updated on Aug 16, 2022 10:31 AM IST

ATK Mohun Bagan can't play AFC Cup, Gokulam Kerala the women's Asian club meet and India friendlies cancelled

By, Kolkata

FIFA, football's apex body, has banned India with immediate effect citing "flagrant violations" of its statute. The women's under-17 World Cup will not be held in India till the ban is in place and no Indian team can participate in international competitions or friendlies.

The ban nixes ATK Mohun Bagan's chance to take part in the inter-zonal semi-finals of the AFC Cup, an inter-country Asian competition, in September. Gokulam Kerala can't represent India in next week's Asian women's club championships. It also means India's friendlies against Singapore and Vietnam scheduled next month stand cancelled.

The ban will stay till the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regains full control of its affairs, FIFA has said.

Domestic football can continue. The 131st Durand Cup, which kicks off the Indian season, begins in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The suspension letter, signed by FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, reached Sunando Dhar, acting general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), early on Tuesday, hours after India celebrated turning 75 as an independent nation. This is the first time AIFF, formed in 1937, has been banned by FIFA.

Samoura's letter, of which HT has a copy, refers to the Supreme Court's order on May 18 that led to a committee of administrators (CoA) taking charge of AIFF and the top court's decision to hold elections for office-bearers for three months while the constitution is finalised. It takes note of the AIFF's electoral college being changed to accommodate former internationals. The suspension letter also refers to an earlier correspondence by Samoura and Windsor John, the general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), that had spoken of deviations from the roadmap agreed upon during a visit to New Delhi in June and the possibility of suspension.

The information, Samoura's letter says, were conveyed to the FIFA Council, the world body's main decision making body. Also referred to as the bureau, the council decided to suspend India on August 14, the letter says.

"The Bureau further specified that the relevant suspension would mean that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022™ scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022 could not be held in India as planned and that the resulting next steps will continue to be assessed and referred to the Bureau... if and when necessary," the letter states.

"As a consequence, and in accordance with article 13 of the FIFA Statutes, AIFF loses all its membership rights as of 14 August 2022until further notice. AIFF representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted," the letter states. Neither AIFF nor its members can avail of any FIFA benefit or training till the ban is lifted.

The ban will stay till the CoA's mandate is "repealed in full"; AIFF's administration is "fully in charge" of managing the daily affairs of the federation; the constitution is in line with FIFA and AFC statutes and is approved by AIFF's general body without any interference from "any third party" and elections held based on AIFF's "pre-existing" membership status.

The Supreme Court is due to hear the matter on Wednesday. In an order on August 3, the court had called for elections to an interim body and said the AIFF's general body should have equal representation of former internationals. The order had also said CoA would stay after the interim body is elected and till the constitution is finalised.


    Dhiman Sarkar is based in Kolkata with over two decades as a sports journalist. He writes mainly on football.

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