The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has lifted the ban that was placed on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for improper third-party influence. A week after the AIFF was suspended, the apex body has given the Indian football fraternity much relief. On August 16, FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, suspended the AIFF, effective immediately, for undue influence by third parties, which had put India’s FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign for U-17s at risk in October. The latest trend of issues for Indian football started when the former AIFF president and FIFA council member Praful Patel refused to resign from his position as the nation’s football administrator.
FIFA further confirmed that India would continue to be the 2022 host for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, having previously explored other options during the Indian suspension. The announcement would be a significant relief for the Indian Government, the All India Football Federation, and Indian soccer fans because it means that India could be hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled for Oct. 11-30, later this year.
The stay, which is the first time it has happened in AIFFs 85-year history, has been in effect for only 11 days, following Monday’s dissolution of a three-member COA, constituted by the Supreme Court in May, in an amended version of an earlier order, which had guaranteed that India would be hosting the Women’s U-17 Women’s World Cup from Oct. 11-30. It was scheduled to occur following the Supreme Court’s removal of Praful Patel as All India Football Federation chairman in May over the failure to hold elections planned for December 2020. With the Supreme Court, acting on a recommendation from the Indian Government, opting to disband the Council of Administrators (CoA) and hand back reins to the old guard, the deck was cleared for FIFA to end its moratorium.
In an effort to undermine Kalyan Chaubey’s bid for a unanimous win, Indian football great Bhaichung Bhutia also submitted a new nomination for the position of AIFF president on Thursday. Rajasthan FA and Andhra Football Association (AFA) both supported his nomination. Bhutia had previously submitted his nomination for the position of president, which will be filled on August 28 under the auspices of the Committee of Administrators constituted by the Supreme Court (CoA). However, in order to save the Women’s U-17 World Cup, when FIFA banned the AIFF, the SC ruled on August 22 that the CoA’s term was over, barred the inclusion of 36 former players in the electoral college, and postponed the elections by one week.