SC defers hearing of AIFF case, Centre in discussion with FIFA

The Football House, headquarters of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in New Delhi Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group via Getty Images

The central government has begun discussions with FIFA over the ban on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and there has already been some breaking of ice, its top lawyer told the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.

The Court, which has been hearing a series of cases related to the administration of Indian football, has now listed the case to be heard on Monday, August 22.

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It asked the solicitor-general, appearing for the government, to "take proactive steps" to ensure the ban is lifted and the Under-17 Women's World Cup is staged in India as scheduled. India was to host the tournament from October 11-30.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Paridwala was told by solicitor-general Tushar Mehta that two meetings have been held by the government and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) with FIFA and efforts are being made to "break some ice" on the holding of the U-17 Women's World Cup in India.

He requested that the matter be deferred till August 22 so that a consensus could be arrived at between the active stakeholders of the AIFF.

The bench said it is a great international event for the under-17 women's footballers and it is only concerned with the fact that the tournament is held in the country. If somebody from outside is trying to interfere with it, it would not be tolerated, it added.

FIFA, on Tuesday, suspended India for "undue influence from third parties" and stripped the country of its U-17 Women's World Cup hosting rights. This is the first time that the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year history.

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 then appointed a three-member 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.