The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) of India have confirmed to the Supreme Court that Praful Patel has been mandated to step down from his post as President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The main issue that has arisen is that Patel has already completed three terms and 12 years as President of the AIFF and that his team have been putting off holding elections which was supposed to be held in December 2020 after moving to the Supreme Court that elections cannot be held due to the suspension of the constitution.
"It is submitted that as the term of the existing committee of the AIFF is already over, and the existing president has completed more than 12 years as president, the petitioner (AIFF) should hold elections without further delay as per extant instructions contained under Sports Code and the instructions issued by the Answering Respondent (Sports Ministry) from time to time," the MYAS told the Supreme Court on the issue.
"As the last elections held by the petitioner was on 21/12/2016, as such the petitioner is required to conduct fresh elections. While recently the Answering Respondent renewed the petitioner's annual recognition for a year with effect from 23/10/2020, such recognition is subject to the outcome of the special leave petition pending before this honourable court.
"That thus the tenure of an office bearer of the Petitioner, such as the president, who has already served 12 years as president of AIFF, will be in violation of the Sports Code, specifically clause 9.3 (iii) of the Sports Code," the Ministry added.
Patel for his part is understood to be flouting the National Sports Code of 2011, which states that a president of a National Sports Federation cannot continue beyond a maximum of 12 years. Since moving court in the last 14 months, Patel's committee has continued to take all major decisions despite being asked to refrain from doing so.
Patel has already served three four-year terms – a fourth term would make him eligible to contest for a spot in FIFA's council, of which elections are scheduled to take place in April 2023.