Indian Football | SC appoints Board of Administrators to administer AIFF

The Supreme Court said that the All India Football Federation’s current situation was not in the interests of proper governance of the federation and so appointed an Administrative Committee to take responsibility

The Supreme Court said that the All India Football Federation’s current situation was not in the interests of proper governance of the federation and so appointed an Administrative Committee to take responsibility

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a three-person Administrative Committee (CoA), headed by former Supreme Court Justice AR Dave, to manage the affairs of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the adoption of its statutes in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said the COA will include two former members – Dr. SY Qureshi, Former Chief Election Commissioner, and Bhaskar Ganguly, Former Indian Football Team Captain – alongside Judge Dave.

The Supreme Court said the current state of affairs was not in the interests of proper governance of the association.

It directed the CoA to adopt the AIFF immediately and to assist the Court by providing submissions to the Court to facilitate the AIFF’s adoption of the Constitution in accordance with the National Sports Code and Model Guidelines.

The bank said the COA will prepare electoral rolls for the purpose of holding elections to the Executive Committee of AIFF under the Articles of Incorporation to be presented by the two-member committee (Ombudsman) of Mr. Qureshi and Mr. Ganguly.

“The Administrative Committee carries out the day-to-day running of the All India Football Federation,” the bench said, adding that the COA is free to enlist the former federation committee’s assistance in conducting tournaments, player selection and other matters.

The bank said the newly constituted Management Committee should meet at the Football House in Dwarka or at another convenient location.

The Supreme Court clarified that this was a pro tem rule to facilitate the holding of elections and the handing over of affairs to the democratically elected body in accordance with the Constitution.

He added that it can be assumed that the elections will be held at a convenient date.

Plea against Praful Patel’s presidency

On May 12, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by Delhi Football Club alleging the illegal continuation of a committee and Praful Patel as President of the AIFF for over a decade.

The Supreme Court was told by lawyer Prashant Bhushan that an illegal committee continues to run the AIFF since a petition by the Football Association against the Delhi High Court’s 2017 decision was not heard.

“In 2017 the last election of the Football Association was overturned by the Delhi High Court. When an SLP was filed with that court, that court appointed a committee headed by former Elections Commissioner and Sports Secretary Qureshi to draft a constitution for the AIFF in accordance with the Sports Act. Even that happened a long time ago…” Mr. Bhushan had said.

Earlier, the Department of Sport had filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court saying Mr Patel has no mandate to continue as AIFF President as he has already served three terms and the national body should hold elections without further delay.

The affidavit was filed in relation to a Special Leave (SLP) petition filed by the AIFF and the Department of Sport.

“… the term of office of the existing Committee (the AIFF) has already expired and the current President (Praful Patel) has served more than 12 years as President, the petitioner (AIFF) should, under existing instructions, without further delay, hold elections under contained in the Sports Code and the instructions issued from time to time by the respondent (Ministry of Sports),” the ministry’s affidavit said.

Praful Patel’s tenure as AIFF President

Mr. Patel completed his three terms and 12 years as AIFF President in December 2020, the maximum allowed for a National Sport Federation (NSF) chief under the Sports Act.

However, the AIFF did not hold the elections, citing a petition pending in the Supreme Court regarding its constitution.

The AIFF had filed a petition with the Supreme Court just a month before the upcoming election to seek certain clarifications on the status of its constitution, which has been under review in the Supreme Court since 2017.

In 2017, the Delhi High Court overturned the election of Mr Patel as AIFF President (at the 2016 AGM) at the request of lead counsel Rahul Mehra.

Patel remains President

But the Supreme Court had stayed the Supreme Court decision and allowed Mr Patel to continue in his role while also appointing Mr Qureshi and Ganguly as administrators and formulating the AIFF charter.

In February, at the AIFF general meeting in Mumbai, Patel finally agreed to form a committee to look into the matter.

The three-member committee was asked to present its report in three months.

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