India has 38 days to avoid a ban from international football. They must finalize the new constitution by July 31. This is the biggest takeaway from a series of meetings that have taken place in New Delhi over the past week.
Following a meeting on Thursday with the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and state football associations, the joint seven-member delegation from FIFA and the AFC said the new constitution of the Indian Football Federation (AIFF) was expected to be finalized by July. 31.
Thereafter, the special general assembly of the organization must be convened before August 5, when the date of the elections should be finalized. Elections for the new president must take place by September 15, global and continental bodies have said. Any deviation from these deadlines could lead to India’s suspension from world football.
The saga began after the AIFF failed to hold elections to appoint a new president within the allotted time, due to a deadlock in finalizing its constitution. This led to the Supreme Court appointing a three-member CoA, comprising former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Supreme Court Justice Anil Dave and former India captain Bhaskar Ganguly, to manage day-to-day affairs. of the AIFF after finding them in violation of the sport’s code.
As a result, India risked facing action from FIFA, which saw it as a violation of its statutes, but instead of imposing an immediate ban, it decided to send a delegation to the country.
Sources said ahead of the meetings, the first of which took place on Tuesday, FIFA and AFC were convinced that the CoA appointment amounted to outside interference and were set to impose a ban on India. .
“However, after the meetings, they realized the state associations were all on the same page and happy with the CoA,” the source said. “The CoA also assured that it will cooperate with FIFA and the AFC and finalize the constitution within the given timeframe.”
We learn that FIFA and the AFC will follow the drafting of the new constitution of the AIFF on a daily basis to ensure that it is aligned with their statutes. Once finalized, the constitution must be presented to the Supreme Court by July 15, with the next hearing scheduled for July 21.
The joint delegation, led by AFC General Secretary Windsor John, concluded its three-day visit to New Delhi on Thursday. During this period, they met with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, the three CoA members, former AIFF President and current FIFA Council member Praful Patel, AIFF officials and associations of State, as well as representatives of the country’s top two divisions, the Indian Super League and I-League.
Finalizing the constitution and holding elections are not the only problems the AIFF is currently facing. It has been learned that a forensic audit of the federation’s accounts is likely to take place after allegations of corruption surfaced against its officials.
On the eve of the FIFA-AFC visit, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das took “medical leave”, and on Thursday AIFF member associations unanimously appointed the CEO of the I-League, Sunando Dhar, as acting general secretary.