FIFA ban India: Most facets of Indian football, including the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, which is slated to take place in India in October and for which tickets have already been put on sale, are in jeopardy.
Threats against Indian football became a reality when FIFA, the world governing body of the game, suspended the All India Football Federation for “undue influence from third parties.” The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was slated to take place from October 11–30, 2022, was also revoked by the FIFA council’s Bureau along with the ruling.
FIFA claimed in their statement that it was in contact with the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. If certain requirements were completed, there was a glimmer of optimism that the ban might only last a short time. But how did things end up in this situation?
Why did FIFA ban India?
The current wave of issues facing Indian football started when the former AIFF president and FIFA council member Praful Patel refused to resign from his position as the nation’s football administrator. The protracted pandemic and a judicial battle involving the AIFF constitution served as his justification for being on stage.
But on May 18, the Supreme Court intervened, and removed Patel from his post. The SC also appointed a Committee of Administrators (COA) to run the AIFF. The setting up of this COA is where the contentious relationship with FIFA began, which eventually led to the ban.
What is the ban, and how will it operate?
As of now, the AIFF has been suspended by FIFA due to “third-party interference”. Third-party interference refers to a situation in which a member association of FIFA fails to remain independent, is co-opted, and no longer has control over its organisation. In this case, the SC’s diktat to the COA to run the AIFF was a textbook case of third-party interference, according to FIFA statutes.
The suspension means, firstly, no international football — and this applies to all national teams, across all age groups. It also applies to both men’s and women’s football, and to all club teams in India.
The suspension also impacts international transfers, as well as any courses or developmental programs that AIFF officials could, or were taking part in. This in effect means a total ban on all football-related activities outside India. However, the league in the country, as well as domestic transfers, can continue.