Blame it on Praful: Brand India suffers as AIFF plot thickens

New Delhi: The All India football saga, and subsequent ban by world body FIFA, is very much like Shakespearean theatre. It has power, greed, rebellion, betrayal and tragedy. The most damaging residue of this saga is the damage to Brand India’s image, coupled with the impending ban by FIFA and a question mark over the conduct of global sporting activities in India. Now that the FC Gokulam girls are sent from Tashkent, the damage is getting worse and the plot thickens.
The problem started when the prominent Union minister under UPA rule Praful Patel was elected head of the Indian Football Federation (AIFF) in 2009 and it snowballed after the end of his tenure in office. According to the sports code, Patel’s term expired in 2020. As Patel completed his three permitted 12-year terms, the AIFF was due to stand for re-election. However, the polls could not go as planned due to delays and his greed to preside over the U-17 World Cup in India and secure the official FIFA World Cup red carpet in Qatar. The Supreme Court intervened and asked the AIFF to align with the national sports code.
Patel’s regime has been marked by a sharp drop in international friendlies. Inept administration and exhaustion of government grants. Evidently, AIFF grants decreased by Rs 30 crore for

the 2019-20 financial year at Rs 10 crore in 2020-21. Additionally, three serious allegations were made against Patel. A) He was in defiance of the Supreme Court and would have voted against India in FIFA. B) Patel conspired with state association officials to get the FIFA ban imposed on India. C) Previous broadcasters used to pay to show Indian players but with the arrival of Patel this was completely stopped and Indian games abroad were not shown live. Fans for the past five years have had to rely on social media feeds for their national team live broadcast.
To stop the fall, complaints were filed, charges were brought and the courts had to intervene. On May 18, the Supreme Court of India relieved Praful Patel and his Executive Committee of their responsibilities and appointed a three-member Committee of Trustees (CoA) headed by Justice Anil Dave (former Justice, Supreme Court of India). India), Dr. SY Qureshi (former Chief Election Commissioner) and Mr. Bhaskar Ganguli (former Indian football captain).
Over the next two weeks, the first CoA meeting was successfully held to assess issues and provide instant solutions.
It was decided to appoint a 12-member advisory committee to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the various departments of the AIFF.
FIFA-AFC and the CoA met on June 23 where it was decided to finalize the new Constitution by July 31 and the elections by the end of September.
On July 16, the three-member committee of trustees submitted the final draft AIFF constitution to the Supreme Court for approval. But then horror struck when AIFF state units expressed their dissatisfaction with several provisions of the draft Constitution. But still, they were ready to ‘find a middle way’ to avoid a FIFA ban on Indian football.
On July 26, FIFA recommended that the AIFF absorb 25% representation of prominent players in its executive committee as co-opted members instead of the 50% recommended in the final draft Constitution by CoA.
According to the timetable, the results of the elections would be announced on August 28/29, 2022. The Supreme Court ordered the holding of elections for the AIFF executive committee by forming an electoral college composed of 36 representatives of the state football associations and 36 prominent former football players.

A CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
* August 6, 2022
FIFA is threatening to suspend the AIFF and withdraw its rights to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup in October due to third party ‘influence’.
* August 7, 2022
The CoA reassured FIFA after the threat that it was on the right track to put the AIFF in order while criticizing its ousted president Praful Patel for his references to the suspension of the national body.
* August 10, 2022
The CoA has asked the Supreme Court to seek contempt of court against the body’s former chairman, Praful Patel, and several members of the state’s football associations office for ‘interference in the administration of justice while accusing them of trying to defeat the purpose of the Supreme Court’s decision. supervision of the football federation through the Committee of Trustees.
* August 15, 2022
FIFA has informed the Indian Ministry of Sports that it remains firm in its opposition to the inclusion of individual members in the electoral college for the upcoming AIFF elections.
* August 16, 2022
FIFA has officially suspended the AIFF, which means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled for October 11-30, 2022, cannot currently be held in the country as scheduled.

THE ELECTION
The nomination process for the top job in the AIFF election has been filled, with top names throwing their hats. Legendary ex-Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, former players Kalyan Chaubey, Eugeneson Lyngdoh have applied for the post of president. Ajit Banerjee, brother of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is also believed to be in the fray; NA Haris, Member of Assembly of Karnataka; Manvendra Singh, son of former Defense Minister Jaswant Singh; and Shaji Prabhakaran, chairman of the Delhi FA. The only female candidate for president is Valanka Alemao, daughter of former Goa chief minister Churchill Alemao.
Lyngdoh, a former player and teammate of Bhaichung, is an MP for Meghalaya.
Although it looks like a tricky battle on the cards, speculation is that it will eventually come down between Bhaichung and Kalyan Chaubey. But a clear picture will emerge on Bhaichung’s fate after Monday’s Supreme Court hearing. FIFA currently does not allow prominent players to be in the Electoral College and this has been one of the main hurdles for the AIFF in getting the draft Constitution ratified by FIFA. This is also one of the reasons why FIFA banned the AIFF. So much would also depend on the Supreme Court hearing and FIFA’s discussion with the Ministry of Sports and the AIFF.
Although Bhutia was allowed to stand for election, it is Kalyan Chaubey who is the favorite for the top job. He is a member of BJP and his name was proposed by Gujrat FA and seconded by Arunachal Football. While Gujarat is known as the power center of Indian politics, Arunachal is home to the former Minister of Sports and current Minister of Law and Justice of Government of India.
As things really spice up and Indian football moves towards a constructive path, it remains to be seen what will happen on August 22 as the day becomes the biggest day in Indian football history.

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