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AIFF to host Presidential election as Praful Patel set to step down and not seek re-election

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Praful Patel
via India Today

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has released an official statement claiming that current AIFF president Praful Patel will step down and won’t seek re-election. The official statement by AIFF has come as a response to an affidavit registered to the Supreme Court.

The affidavit stated that the term of Praful Patel is over and the AIFF has failed to conduct an election. So, AIFF is now seeking to hold a Presidential election.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) told the Supreme Court, in response to an affidavit filed by Rahul Mehra against the AIFF: “It is submitted that as the term of the existing committee (of the AIFF) is already over, and the existing president (Praful Patel) has completed more than 12 years as president, the Petitioner (AIFF) should hold elections without further delay as per extant instructions contained under Sports Code and the instructions issued by the Answering Respondent (sports ministry) from time to time.”

The Ministry added: “As the last elections held by the petitioner was on 21.12.2016, as such the Petitioner is required to conduct fresh elections. While recently the Answering Respondent renewed the Petitioner’s annual recognition for a year with effect from 23.10.2020, such recognition is subject to the outcome of the special leave petition pending before this honourable court.”

“Furthermore, the Answering Respondent in their renewal letter dated 23.10.2020 has categorically stated that the Petitioner needs to bring their constitution in line with provisions of the Sports Code within six months from the date of issue of the letter.”

“That thus the tenure of an office bearer of the Petitioner, such as the president, who has already served 12 years as president of AIFF, will be in violation of the Sports Code, specifically clause 9.3 (iii) of the Sports Code…”

AIFF to host Presidential election as Praful Patel set to step down and not seek re-election

Praful Patel was re-elected for this third and final term as the AIFF President in December 2016 and as per the rules his term should have ended in December 2020. However, Patel still holds the office of the AIFF President as it has been reported that Patel and Co moved to the Supreme Court claiming elections could not be conducted.

The main reason for which the AIFF Presidential election could not be conducted after Patel’s term ended in December 2020 was that the constitution of the AIFF was suspended.

The official statement of the AIFF read: “All India Football Federation has filed an application before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 20th November 2020. Suo moto, we have requested the SC to guide us about the next steps that we should take regarding holding the election in our AGM to be held on 21st Dec 2020. What the sports ministry has filed in their recent affidavit in SC is nothing but a reiteration of the issues which we have mentioned in our application to SC.”

The statement further added, “As per the constitution of FIFA and AFC, it is mandatory to have an elected body representing the affairs of AIFF. Since our application is still pending with the SC, seeking directions regrading holding the elections, we are constrained to hold office in the absence of a new body. Otherwise AIFF will lose its affiliation with FIFA and AFC and will not be able to either participate or hold any international competition in India including the FIFA U-17 World Cup.”

‘We would be more than happy to hold the elections tomorrow if the SC approves our constitution. Already our constitution is in conformity with the National Sports Code adhering the age limit of 70 years and three tenures totalling 12 years. Our President Mr. Praful Patel has stated on several occasions including in the AGM of AIFF that he has completed his tenure and is not seeking re-election.”

Praful Patel has suggested the formation of a three-membered committee that will look into the legal aspects of the election. The three-member body consists of NA Haris, Subrata Datta, and Jessiah Villavarayar. However, since the formation of the body in February, the committee is yet to file the report.

Read: AIFF general secretary Kushal Das feels the main issue with Indian football is the league structure

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