Ministry matters

Praful Patel no longer has a place at AIFF: Sports Ministry tells Supreme Court | Soccer News

NEW DELHI: Will Praful Patel finally step down as Indian Football Association president? Last week, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) confirmed to the Supreme Court that Patel and his committee had no mandate to continue in office.
“It is suggested that the term of the existing committee (of AIFF) has already ended and the current President (Praful Patel) has completed more than 12 years as President, the petitioner (AIFF) should hold elections without further delay because in accordance with existing directions contained in the Sports Code and directions issued by Respondent Respondent (Ministry of Sports) from time to time,” MYAS told the Supreme Court, in response to an April 8 affidavit, regarding the request for special authorization filed by Rahul Mehra against the AIFF, in which the Union of India is a defendant.
The AIFF also risks losing its recognition in the eyes of the government for non-compliance with the sports code, the ministry added.
Things have come to that for Patel and his panel, which postponed an election, last held on December 21, 2016 and due in December 2020. When the time comes, Patel, who has already completed three terms and 12 years as the AIFF President and his panel appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that elections cannot be held due to the suspension of its constitution.
“Given that the last elections organized by the applicant took place on 21.12.2016, the applicant is therefore required to hold new elections. Whereas recently the respondent in response renewed the annual recognition of the applicant for one year from of 23.10.2020, such recognition is subject to the outcome of the application for special leave pending before this honorable court,” the ministry added.
“Furthermore, the Respondent in response in its renewal letter dated 23.10.2020 categorically stated that the Applicant must bring its constitution into conformity with the provisions of the Sports Code within six months from the date of issue of the letter.
“That therefore the tenure of a member of the Applicant’s office, such as the President, who has already served 12 years as President of the AIFF, will be in breach of the Code of Sport, in particular clause 9.3 (iii ) of the Sports Code…”
Patel is clearly flouting the 2011 National Sports Code, where a president of a national sports federation cannot continue beyond a maximum of 12 years. In the 14 months since their move to court, and Patel has remained, his committee continues to make all major decisions despite being asked to refrain from doing so, in addition to representing India at the AFC and at the FIFA Congress, even as rumblings began to emerge. from inside the AIFF with members contesting that position in the top ranks of Indian football’s governing body. While continuing to express his helplessness over the holding of an election, Patel maintained his position, often shouting at any dissent or questions about the election. Despite the lingering uncertainty at Football House, he nevertheless stood out with his presence at the Qatar 2022 World Cup draw in Doha last week.
At the February Annual General Meeting in Mumbai, when the issue of holding elections was again raised, this time by NA Haris of the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA), and followed by other state associations, Patel suggested the formation of a three-man committee to verify the legality of holding elections. The three-member committee – Haris, Subrata Datta (IFA) and Jessiah Villavarayar (Tamil Nadu) – was due to submit its report in a month, but its term has been extended – April 30, early May and now even later.
Patel has already served three four-year terms – a fourth term would make him eligible to run for a place on the FIFA Council, whose elections are due in April 2023, which many AIFF insiders claim he is considering.