Why has Fifa suspended the Indian football federation?

World governing body suspends AIFF with immediate effect due to 'undue influence from third parties'

Fifa said that the suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF's daily affairs. AFP
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World governing body Fifa has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to "undue influence from third parties".

India's highest court had disbanded the AIFF in May and appointed a three-member committee to govern the sport, amend the AIFF's constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months.

A Fifa delegation accompanied an Asian Football Confederation team led by AFC general secretary Windsor John to meet Indian football stakeholders and outline a pathway for the AIFF to amend its statutes and hold elections by September 15.

According to Fifa statutes, member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries. Fifa has previously suspended other national associations over similar cases.

"The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF's daily affairs," Fifa said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Indian court ordered elections to be held promptly and said the elected committee would be an interim body for a period of three months.

The elections of the AIFF, formerly led by Fifa Council member Praful Patel, were to be held by December 2020 but were delayed due to an impasse over amendments to its constitution.

Indian men's and women's national teams also cannot play junior or senior international games during the suspension.

Former men's captain Bhaichung Bhutia called the suspension "very harsh".

"At the same time I think it's a great opportunity to get our system right," he told Indian sports news outlet Sportstar.

"And very important that all the stakeholders - the federations, state associations, sport ministry - come together to get the system right and everybody work for the betterment of the sport."

India captain Sunil Chhetri had recently advised his players "not pay too much attention" to the Fifa ban threat as the situation was out of their control.

The suspension means that the Under 17 women's World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in India from October 11-30, cannot be held in the country as planned.

Fifa is also assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.

"Fifa is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved," Fifa added.

Updated: August 16, 2022, 8:48 AM
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