Indian Football

Football Delhi president writes to FIFA urging them not to take adverse action against India

Arjun Singh Devgan
Gianni Infantino is the current president of FIFA
Gianni Infantino is the current president of FIFA / FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/GettyImages

Football Delhi president, Shaji Prabhakaran has written to the world football governing body, FIFA urging them to judge the matter relating to All India Football Federation (AIFF) in it's entirety before taking any action against the country.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) headed by former top court judge AR Dave to manage the AIFF's affairs, which led to Praful Patel stepping down as the president of the national body.

Many followers of Indian football fear that the AIFF could be facing a ban very soon considering that FIFA have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to external interference in the functioning of national member federations - which could also see them decided to move the Under-17 Women's World Cup from India, which is scheduled to take place later this year.

Prabhakaran, who former south central Asia development officer of FIFA, wrote a letter to Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura, requested the global body to send a 'high power delegation' to India to engage in a dialogue with all stakeholders of Indian football, including its member associations, the CoA and the sports ministry.

"I request you that any adverse measure must not be taken against India and FIFA must review the circumstance in its entirety before reaching any decision. Kindly consider the below-mentioned reasons," he wrote in his letter as quoted by News9.

"The Supreme Court has appointed a Committee of Administrators, because of the Executive Committee functioning beyond their tenure. The court passed this order as there was no other way the Executive Committee could have been prevented from functioning further. The Supreme Court could not announce the conduct of elections, because the Statutes of the AIFF were under review since 2017, and the then AIFF did not move things to fast track the amendment of the Statues by approaching the ombudsman appointed by the Supreme Court in November 2017.

"It is a special case, and it was unavoidable, as it was against the spirit of good governance practices. This Supreme Court was thus left with no other option.

"Further, the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup is being hosted by India in October 2022, and any decision to move the tournament out of the country will have serious consequences on the tournament and the future of football in India.

"For FIFA, India is one of the priority strategic destinations for the further growth of global football and has invested substantially in the growth of the sport in the country, and any such decision would have an adverse impact on the country and the sport.

"In the past 2 years, the Covid situation has hit the country hard, and if football is further stopped, there will be a severe impact on domestic football," Prabhakaran concluded.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for their part are yet to comment on the recent changes that took place in the AIFF and it will be interesting to see whether they decide to take action or ban India in the near future.