Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 03 February 2023 5.11 PM IST

As shackles fall on Indian football


The biggest curse in Indian sports is the tussle to get to the top of the sports associations. FIFA's ban on the All India Football Federation is the latest example of the bad name we have in international sports due to power struggles and embezzlement of funds. FIFA has banned AIFF for the first time in its 85-year history.

FIFA has stated that the reason for the emergency ban is the interference of external forces in AIFF. The International Olympic Committee and international sports organizations such as FIFA do not allow any country's government or authority to take control of their national organizations. It will lead to banning the organization.

The power struggle that has been going on in AIFF for a long time has reached the Supreme Court. Former Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel has been the AIFF President since 2009. A section had approached the Supreme Court stating that Patel's tenure as per the National Sports Policy had expired. Then the Supreme Court stopped Praful Patel from continuing. The Supreme Court also appointed an interim governing body comprising former judge Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi and former captain of the Indian football team Bhaskar Ganguly to conduct the election of a new governing body within the stipulated time. Against this, Patel and his team filed a complaint with FIFA with the support of some state football associations. As a result, FIFA sought a copy of the Supreme Court ruling, which was followed by the ban. According to the temporary committee appointed by the Supreme Court, Patel and his colleagues are taking steps in such a way that if they are replaced, India will not have a Football Association. This power struggle is destroying the future of the nation's football-playing generation. This ban has completely crippled Indian football, which was climbing the ladder of growth. Most importantly, the U-17 Women's World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in Indian cities from October 11 to 30, will be lost. The World Cup that was supposed to be held in 2020 was postponed due to Covid. With just days left for the start of the World Cup, FIFA has come out with a blow to India's ambitions.

The ban also deprives India of the opportunity to play in the World Cup as hosts. Apart from this, India's men's and women's teams cannot participate in any international matches. Ban applies to all categories including junior - senior. The Indian men's team will not be able to participate in the big tournaments like AFC Cup and AFC Champions League. The women's team will also miss out on the AFC Club Championship. While the ban does not apply to ISL, I-League etc, the winners of these tournaments cannot participate in international club matches.

Power struggles, court cases and lawsuits are the curse of Indian sports organizations. The Indian Olympic Association is similarly moving for court intervention. Those who come to the head of sports associations for name, fame and money are doing great injustice to sports and sports talents of the country. There must be an end to this.

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