FIFA bans AIFF and says India cannot host U-17 Women’s World Cup

In an unfortunate turn of events, FIFA finally banned the Football Association of India with “immediate effect due to undue influence by third parties”. This will clearly have an impact on the U-17 Women’s World Cup India is due to host later this year if the ban is not lifted.

Late on Monday evening, FIFA took the decision to suspend the Football Association of India due to “undue influence by third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes”.

A press release was posted on the FIFA website to make the announcement. The body that oversees international football said it would end the ban “once the order to set up a committee of trustees to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the administration of the AIFF will have regained full control of the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF”.

In May this year, the Supreme Court placed the AIFF under the control of a Committee of Trustees (CoA) it had chosen. The CoA had chosen another committee to advise it in June, but it was disbanded a day later when FIFA reportedly raised serious concerns.

The FIFA ban has a number of effects on Indian football, including the fact that any local competition held during the suspension would not be accepted by the AFC or FIFA. In addition, there will be no international competition for national teams.

This would prevent the Gokulam Kerala women’s team from taking part in the AFC Women’s Club Championship when they leave for Uzbekistan on Monday.

The fact that this also implies that India cannot host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup longer, as well as the Indian team’s inability to compete, is a bigger concern. FIFA said it was considering further action in this regard.

FIFA also said it was in “constant constructive contact with India’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and hopes that a positive outcome to the case can still be achieved”.

In the past, there had been rumors that FIFA had adamantly opposed the inclusion of an equal number of individual members (i.e. “prominent players”) in the electoral college for the upcoming AIFF elections; an election for which a joint FIFA-AFC committee had already set the date of September 15.

On Wednesday, August 17, the Supreme Court is scheduled to continue hearing from the CoA on the conduct of the elections and the creation of the AIFF constitution. Also, this is the deadline to submit nominations for the post of AIFF President.

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