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FIFA lifts suspension of AIFF, confirms India’s right to host Women’s U-17 World Cup in October

FIFA on Friday lifted the suspension that it had imposed on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier this month due to undue third-party influence, the sport’s global governing governing body said in a statement on Friday. It also confirmed that the lifting of the suspension means that the Women’s U-17 World Cup will be held in India in October as scheduled.

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to lift the suspension that was imposed on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) due to undue third-party influence. The decision was taken after FIFA received confirmation that the mandate of the committee of administrators that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the AIFF administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” FIFA said in its statement.

ALSO READ | Bhaichung Bhutia, Kalyan Chaubey in AIFF top post contest

FIFA said that it will, alongwith the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) “continue to monitor the situation and will support the AIFF in organising its elections in a timely manner”. FIFA had said while announcing the suspension earlier this month that it would be reversed only if the mandate of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is ended. The CoA had been put in place by the court after it ousted Praful Patel as president of the AIFF in May this year for not holding elections that were due by December 2020 and for continuing in the position past that date.

Earlier, the Centre urged the Supreme Court to end the tenure of the CoA and direct that the day-to-day management of the AIFF shall be looked after by the an administration led by the acting secretary general Sunando Dhar. “The darkest hour of Indian Football is finally over. The suspension that was slapped on midnight of August 15 on the AIFF, has been lifted by FIFA,” said Dhar in a statement from the AIFF.

“We sincerely thank FIFA and AFC, especially the AFC General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John for guiding us in such difficult times. We also take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Hon’ble Sports Minister Shri Anurag Thakur ji for solidly standing by us at this crucial juncture.”

The AIFF’s elections are scheduled to be held on September 2. Among the nominees for the president’s post are former players Bhaichung Bhutia and Kalyan Chaubey, with the latter being touted as the favourite. Filing of nominations opened on Thursday and candidates have till August 30 to withdraw. Bhutia’s nomination was proposed by Andhra Football Association (AFA) and seconded by Rajasthan Football Association, according to PTI. For Chaubey, Gujarat State Football Association was the proposer and seconded by Arunachal Pradesh Football Association. Nominations close at 1pm on Saturday.

There will be 14 executive committee members apart from the president, treasurer and the vice-president. On Thursday, 13 filed nominations. Even if he loses, Bhutia can be part of the AIFF executive committee which will co-opt have six eminent players including two women. Bhutia tops the list of former internationals having played 107 games.

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