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CoA Had Agreed To Conduct AIFF Elections Without ‘Eminent Players’ As Per FIFA’s Wish: Sources

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New Delhi, Aug 16: (PTI) Hours before the FIFA ban, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running football in India had agreed to hold AIFF’s elections without giving voting rights to ’eminent’ players as per the world body’s wish.

In a massive setback for the country, the FIFA on Tuesday suspended India for “undue influence from third parties” and said the U-17 Women’s World Cup “cannot currently be held in India as planned.”
The country is scheduled to host the FIFA event from October 11-30.
Sources privy to the developments said the ban could be short as the the Supreme Court-appointed CoA had agreed to “almost all” of FIFA’s demands regarding the elections and the new constitution, and hence, the U-17 Women’s World Cup could still be held in India.
“The feeling in official circles is that the ban could be short and elections can go ahead not on August 28 but before September 15 (the FIFA deadline),” a top source told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
“The CoA has agreed to it as per FIFA’s wishes.
“In this scenario, the FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup can also be saved.”
It has been learnt that the CoA was not expecting the FIFA ban at this stage as it had agreed to fulfil the world governing body’s requirements.
The country’s football fraternity is now awaiting the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday.
The Union government had, on July 28, given its approval to signing of guarantees for hosting the women’s age group showpiece.
Sources said the CoA, the FIFA and the sports ministry had agreed to a proposal to go ahead with the AIFF elections with the 36 state association representatives forming the electoral college.
The list of 36 ’eminent’ players whose names have already been published by the election’s returning officer includes the likes of Shabbir Ali, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Prasanta Banerjee, IM Vijayan and Bhaichung Bhutia.
Five eminent players — three male and two female — can, however, become members  of the proposed 22-member executive committee with voting rights. There will be maximum one man and one woman from any state.
“Present election of the EC may be conducted with the electoral college consisting of 36 state representatives,” states one of the main points in the proposal which is said to have been agreed upon by the FIFA, CoA and the sports ministry.
“The EC may consist of 22 members, including five eminent players. The 17 members (inclusive of a president, a secretary general, a treasurer, one vice president, one joint secretary) will be elected by the above electoral college.”
The draft constitution of the AIFF prepared by the CoA had provided for 36 eminent players and an equal number of state association representatives in the electoral college and a 12-member executive committee — a president, a treasurer, five eminent players and five others from the states.
The proposal discussed by the three parties also said that if the president is permanently or temporarily prevented from performing his\her official function, the vice president will assume the functions of acting president.
In the old dispensation under ousted president Praful Patel, the AIFF had five vice- presidents — one from each zone — with one among them being designated as senior vice-president.
It was also proposed to appoint a CEO (not office bearer) as a paid employee of the AIFF with the general secretary becoming an elected member (office bearer) of the executive committee.
The ban imposed by the FIFA on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is a first in the 85-year existence of the national body.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” the FIFA said in a statement.
“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.”
“The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned. FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.”
A ban on India was on the cards after the Supreme Court removed Praful Patel as AIFF president on May 18 for not holding elections due in December 2020.
The court had appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), headed by former apex court judge AR Dave, to manage the affairs of the national federation.
The CoA, which has former Chief Commissioner of India SY Quraishi and ex India captain Bhaskar Ganguly as other members, also had to frame its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.
The FIFA has never allowed third party interference in the affairs of its member units whether by the court or the government. It has set up normalisation committees in various countries in cases similar to India.
The poll process began on August 13 as the top court approved the time-line prepared by the CoA.
The CoA has already appointed a returning officers and has published the electoral college for the elections. The filing of nominations is to start from Wednesday.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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