By Ahmad Adil
NEW DELHI (AA) - FIFA has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to “undue influence from third parties,” according to an announcement by world soccer's governing body.
FIFA recently warned India’s football association that it may face a ban and also be stripped of its right to host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in October due to "deviations" from an earlier agreed roadmap that was aimed at addressing the governance issues.
"The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes," a FIFA statement said Tuesday.
It said the suspension will be lifted "once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs."
The elections of the AIFF were to be held by December 2020. They were delayed, however, owing to an impasse in finalizing its constitution.
India’s Supreme Court disbanded the 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.
According to FIFA statutes, members must manage the affairs independently and ensure that its own affairs are not "influenced by third parties."
The Supreme Court recently ordered that the elections to the executive committee of the AIFF be held on Aug. 28.
FIFA also said that India won't be able to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup this year in October.
"The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022™, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned," it said. "FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary."
The world body also said that it is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is "hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved."