Praful Patel Sports News, Firstpost

The COA, led by former Supreme Court Justice AR Dave, also consisted of two former members, Dr. SY Qureshi, Former Chief Election Commissioner, and Bhaskar Ganguly, Former Indian Football Team Captain.

Happy that we were able to professionalize Indian football: Praful Patel

File image by Praful Patel. PTI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday removed the AIFF committee led by Praful Patel and appointed a three-man management committee to run Indian football.

The CoA, led by former Supreme Court Justice AR Dave, also consists of two former members, Dr. SY Qureshi, Former Chief Election Commissioner, and Bhaskar Ganguly, Former Indian Football Team Captain.

A number of judges DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said the CoA will provide day-to-day leadership of the AIFF.

“The Administrative Committee carries out the day-to-day running of the All India Football Federation,” the bank said.

Praful Patel has now reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision, adding that he is grateful that “the long-pending matter” has been brought to a conclusion.

Below is the full text of Praful Patel’s response in a released statement.

I thank the Honorable Supreme Court for bringing finality to an issue that has been pending since 2017. The term of office of the elected committee expired in December 2020 and we had approached the Honorable Supreme Court suo moto in November 2020 for an early resolution of the matter and directions accordingly. The AIFF Constitution broadly follows the 2011 Sports Code for age and term limitations and as such I was in any event about to resign from office and was not eligible for re-election.

During my tenure, I have had the privilege of serving Indian football. I would like to thank everyone involved in the football family including our players – both men and women, our national associations, the clubs, AIFF officials, the media, Union and state governments, marketing partners and sponsors and all lovers of our beautiful game.

I am delighted that we have been able to professionalize Indian football and that we have a very strong grassroots program that will propel us to the next level in the years to come and find our true place and recognition on the world map.

India also had the honor and privilege of hosting the first-ever FIFA World Cup in India, which was a resounding success. It brought international recognition and appreciation for the growth and popularity of football in India. I have also had the proud honor of being Senior Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation and being the first Indian representative to be duly elected to the FIFA Council with the highest number of votes.

We currently have two strong leagues. We’ve managed to integrate the two leagues with a reasonable promotion and relegation schedule while showing due respect to the old clubs. Indian clubs have started to do well in the Asian Champions League which bodes well for the future. The Indian Women’s League has also grown in strength and offers all aspiring young women footballers an appropriate platform to pursue their dreams.

We also launched the National Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art facility for training and catering for our national teams in Kolkata. The NCE is currently partially operational as the Blue Tigers currently train there and will be completed soon.

Also, a huge leap of faith helped us climb from 173rd to 96th in FIFA. I’m also very proud of the way the women’s team has played and currently the Blue Tigresses are 59th in the FIFA rankings. The boys’ and girls’ age group teams are also performing well, which confirms the good work we’ve done at YDP level.

We have provided all teams with the best training facilities and coaches with exposure tours, with a particular focus on modern sports science. We currently have the highest number of professional coaches through our robust coach education program, along with a referee development program.

We have also managed to professionalize the AlFF and maintain the highest standards of financial and corporate governance at the Federation, with many young dynamic and highly skilled and motivated professionals serving Indian football.

I wish the Management Committee well and urge them to assume their responsibility to create a new constitution consistent with the National Sports Code, which we already largely comply with, while keeping the AFC and FIFA Statutes in mind. A quick solution and a newly elected body will be in the best interests of Indian football.

I am always available for service to collectively advance Indian football and thank you again for receiving the love, affection and honor of serving the sport,” he said in a statement.

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