The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will hold elections and the new office-bearers will be in place by September end, Committee of Administrators (CoA) member SY Quraishi said on Sunday. The Supreme Court in its May 18 ruling had named a three-member CoA to run AIFF and removed the Praful Patel-led executive committee for continuing in office despite its tenure having expired in December 2020.
Former Apex court judge AR Dave heads the CoA, which has ex-India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly as the third member.
Quraishi told a virtual media interaction that he was confident football’s world governing body Fifa will not suspend the national body on grounds of “third-party interference”, as has been the case with some other national football bodies. The CoA officials are due to meet Fifa and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) officials in New Delhi on June 11.
As per the timeline set by the court, a draft AIFF constitution prepared by the CoA in line with the National Sports Code must be circulated among the stakeholders and their feedback sent to CoA counsel Samar Bansal by June 30. The CoA must place the constitution before SC by July 15. The next hearing is on July 21. Quraishi hopes they can submit the final draft to the court by July 7.
“Hopefully by July 21 we will have a new, approved constitution. Immediately thereafter, we will set the process of election in motion. We will not waste a day to hold a democratic election and hand over power to the validly elected people. Normally it takes 6-8 weeks to conduct elections because there are legal procedures for nominations, objections, withdrawals, and so on. So I expect it to be done in 6-8 weeks, not longer than that. By the end of September, the new body should be in position,” Quraishi said.
Since the CoA was given charge of running AIFF, there have been apprehensions that Fifa would suspend the Indian body.
“Initially, those apprehensions were expressed,” he said. “But I saw in the papers that Mr Patel wrote to Fifa and explained the situation. That’s a good thing because all kinds of apprehensions could have crept into Fifa’s mind about him. After that, any doubts or reservations should have disappeared. The remaining doubts will be covered when they meet us and realize that we are a group of well-meaning people. We expect full cooperation from FIFA and we will extend full cooperation to them. Hopefully, the meeting will be very productive. I have no doubt that FIFA has our interest at heart. They are reasonable people.”
Quraishi didn’t go into the details of the draft constitution. One NSC requirement is for eminent sportspersons to have a role in running sports federations. Quraishi, also a member of the Delhi high court-appointed CoA to run Hockey India (HI), favors it.
“Our mandate was to bring the constitution in line with the sports code. Eminent sportspersons are expected to have at least 25% representation because sports bodies should have sportspersons playing the lead role. There’s no doubt about it. I subscribe to it.”