Football – FIFA asks Indian federation to hold elections by September 15 to avoid ban

By Sudipto Ganguly
Mumbai, June 24 (Reuters)FIFA has asked the Indian Football Association to complete changes to its constitution and elect new staff by September 15 to avoid a ban, officials said.
India’s highest court dissolved the Executive Committee of the All India Football Association last month after it failed to hold elections on time and amend its regulations in line with rules set out in the National Sports Act.
The court then appointed a three-member committee to manage the body, amend the AFC constitution, and hold elections that have been suspended for 18 months.
FIFA’s laws state that member associations must be free from legal and political interference in their countries and that the World Federation has suspended other national associations in the past due to similar situations.

FIFA and Asian The Football Association dispatched a team led by AFC General Secretary Windsor John to meet with Indian football stakeholders, including Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, on a three-day visit that concluded on Thursday.
“The meetings concluded that the next steps should be the ratification of the FIFA Statutes in line with the FIFA/AFC Principles of Good Governance and the holding of an electoral conference to select the next AFC leadership,” the AFC said in a statement.
“This will be based on a timetable agreed upon by AIFF stakeholders.”
Shaji Prabhakaran, president of the Delhi Football Association and a former regional development official at FIFA, said on Twitter that FIFA had given a deadline of July 31 to amend its statutes and September 15 to complete his election.
“The delegation of the International Football Association (FIFA) and the Asian Confederation gave us a strict timetable. We must avoid the ban of the International Football Association (FIFA),” he added.
The ban could result in India losing the rights to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in October.

The FIFA elections, led by FIFA Council member Praful Patel, were due to be held by December 2020, but were postponed due to deadlock over amendments to its constitution.
Cricket-obsessed India isn’t a huge hit in football, and the country, home to 1.3 billion people, didn’t make it to the World Cup finals.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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