Indian Football Federation Faces Potential FIFA Ban After FSDL Files Case In SC


The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is staring at a possible FIFA ban after Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) which manages the Indian Super League filed a case in the Supreme Court, requesting to amend some clauses in the Draft Constitution submitted by the Committee of Administrators (CoA).

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Sources close to the development said that the FSDL is not happy with the way the SC-appointed CoA has drafted the constitution and included the clause of implementing the principles of promotion and relegation in ISL.

This is the reason FSDL has filed a petition in the Supreme Court and is seeking permission to intervene in the matter, said the sources.

In their application to Apex Court, FSDL said, “The Applicant, being an important stakeholder in Indian football, duly submitted to the All India Football Federation (“AIFF”), its comments and objections to the proposed Constitution of AIFF.

As elucidated in detail hereinafter, it is the humble submission of the Applicant that the Committee of Administrators (“CoA”) has failed to take into consideration and has even rejected certain material suggestions and objections to the Constitution of the AIFF made by the Applicant herein.

“The Applicant is constrained to approach this Hon’ble Court as certain exclusive rights and entitlements granted in favour of the Applicant under a long-term agreement, i.e., the Master Rights Agreement dated 09.12.2010 (“MRA”) executed in the year 2010 by the AIFF are being totally disregarded and violated by virtue of certain provisions contained in the proposed Constitution of the AIFF. Further, the said provisions are also against the development and promotion of football in India.”

A delegation of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has set the Committee of Administrators (CoA) a deadline of July 31 to amend the statutes of the Constitution and conclude the elections by September 15, 2022.

In case, the case is prolonged and goes on beyond the deadline set by the FIFA-AFC delegation, the sport’s world governing body could ban the AIFF, said the source.

In Article 1.50 of Draft Constitution (IANS has a copy of Draft constitution), it is said, “Seniormost top division league” shall mean the league competition owned, operated, recognized and directly managed by the AIFF, that implements the principles of promotion and relegation, and meets all requirements prescribed by the AFC for being eligible to obtain a direct slot in the Asian Champions League.”

If the draft constitution is accepted and comes into effect, the clubs in the Indian Super League, that are not implementing promotion and relegation, will not be able to play in the Asian Champions League.

The Draft Constitution says, “Provided that the above functions/roles cannot be delegated or assigned to any other entity or organization.”

It is clearly mentioned in article 63 of the Draft Constitution that the AIFF is the original owner of all of the rights emanating from Competitions, without any restrictions as to content, time, place and law, and shall retain these rights under all circumstances.

“These rights include, among others, every kind of commercial rights, financial rights, audiovisual and radio recording, reproduction and broadcasting rights, multimedia rights, marketing and promotional rights and incorporeal rights.”

“The AIFF shall have the inalienable right, discretion and authority over all decision-making pertaining to creation, management, direction, control, regulation, promotion, development and sponsorship of any League or Competition. Without prejudice to the foregoing, the AIFF shall have the inalienable right and discretion to take all decisions of any nature pertaining to any aspect of any competition.”

The draft constitution of the AIFF has been submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval on Friday (July 15).

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The CoA, which had been appointed by the apex court on May 18, 2022, comprises Justice (retired) Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and former India captain Bhaskar Ganguly.

The apex court directed the CoA to assist the court in facilitating the adoption of the constitution and preparing electoral rolls for the purpose of conducting elections of the AIFF at the earliest.

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