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AIFF Crisis: How the messed up administration may lead to stagnation of Indian Football — Explained

Indian administrators are not known for their practical methods of functioning and have often felt a sense of entitlement in whichever post or position they are assigned to.

AIFF President Praful Patel (Source: AIFF)

Former AIFF President Praful Patel (Source: AIFF)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 25 July 2022 11:39 AM GMT

Dreams of witnessing the Indian football team play at the FIFA World Cup are spoken of every year. However, in India, dreams related to sports are often hard to achieve because the system is built to work against athletes and players.

Indian administrators are not known for their practical methods of functioning and have often felt a sense of entitlement in whichever post or position they are assigned to. This entitlement is one of the key reasons why athletes have suffered immensely in India.

Unfortunately, administrators (most of who have not played a single sport in their life) do not care for the consequences of their actions.

Ahead of a crucial few months for Indian football with the nation slated to host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in October, we take a look at what can exactly happen to the national team, youth teams and the future of a talented group of players who may suffer at the hands of gross incompetence.

What has FIFA asked India to do?

FIFA has specifically requested India to ensure the changes to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) constitution are made at the earliest. They have also emphasised the requirement of having newly elected office bearers by mid-September.

The reason for these strict compliance requirements of FIFA is credited to the fact that all members are requested to be functioning in adherence to the FIFA statute.

Quite specifically, Articles 13(Member Obligations) and 14(Suspension) are crucial for countries to adhere to as part of their presence as members of the governing body for international football.

What can happen now?

The men's national team is relatively safer from missing out on major tournaments for the time being as qualification rounds have all ended ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup in December. It is the Women's Under Indian 17 team that will suffer the most.

Despite many controversies over the past few years, India has managed to prepare itself for the Under 17 Women's World Cup to be held in October 2022. Cities have geared up, arrangements have been made, and the talented girl's team is also excited with their draw.

However, if the AIFF, the Sports Ministry and the Supreme Court do not manage to arrive at a proper consensus by September 15, 2022, the U-17 World Cup will have to be rescheduled.

What happened with Indonesia in 2014?

In 2014/15, Indonesia was banned from competing internationally by FIFA. The result left Indonesia ineligible to compete in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup.

The reason for this was the constant power tussle going on between the government and the football federation regarding the running of their domestic league. The Indonesian government had a different opinion regarding the eligibility of certain teams to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL).

The constant tussle led to the Indonesian Sports Ministry suspending the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI). The court case taken up due to this suspension led to the intervention of FIFA and the ultimate decision of banning Indonesia from international competitions until proper compliance with the FIFA statute was made.

In 2016, FIFA reinstated Indonesia after receiving intimation of a government order to lift the decree that had caused the suspension of the football federation.

The main takeaway from this is that the administrative incompetence and lackluster decision-making have resulted in Indonesia missing out on playing crucial matches in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup. The same could happen with India if the appropriate results are not met in the coming months.

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