FIFA reminds India of impending ban and loss of U-17 Women’s World Cup

The sun is reflected in the FIFA logo in front of the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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MUMBAI, Aug 6 (Reuters) – World governing body FIFA has reminded the Indian Football Association it is at risk of losing the upcoming U17 Women’s World Cup and over “deviations” from an agreed roadmap to resolve governance issues with faces a ban.

India’s highest court dissolved the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in May and appointed a three-member committee to govern the sport, amend the AIFF’s constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months.

In response, FIFA and the Football Confederation of Asia sent a team led by AFC General Secretary Windsor John to meet Indian football stakeholders and set out a roadmap for the AIFF to amend its statutes by the end of July, followed by elections at the latest to complete by the end of Sept 15

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This week, India’s court ordered elections to be held without delay, saying the elected committee would be an interim body for a period of three months.

“According to said roadmap, the AIFF should convene an Extraordinary General Assembly in the first week of August 2022 to approve the new statutes that FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community have been working on,” read a statement sent by FIFA and the AFC writing said.

“Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Supreme Court hearing yesterday (Wednesday) on the situation of the AIFF allegedly resulted in deviations from the above roadmap.

“If this is taken as true, it would irrefutably jeopardize the mutual understanding that has been shown on the steps forward so far.”

The letter, seen by Reuters, was addressed to AIFF acting general secretary Sunando Dhar and signed by FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura and AFC’s John. It asked the Indian authority to submit a transcript of the court decision by Tuesday.

FIFA warned that if serious deviations from the agreed roadmap were found, sanctions could include “the suspension of the AIFF and the withdrawal of hosting rights for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 in India (in October)”.

The AIFF’s elections, previously chaired by FIFA Council Member Praful Patel, were due to be held by December 2020 but were delayed due to an impasse over changes to its statutes.

FIFA’s statutes state that member associations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries, and the world governing body has previously suspended other national associations over similar cases.

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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