Football's premier ruling body FIFA on Tuesday decided to suspend All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect for colluding with third parties and influencing the footballing operations in India.
The decision also means that India would no longer be able to host the 2022 Under-17 Women's FIFA World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in the country from 11-30 October 2022.
FIFA said the suspension was effective immediately and that the transgression – constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes.
“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once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF executive committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” FIFA said.
World football governing body FIFA had informed the Indian Sports Ministry that it remains firm in its opposition to individual members’ inclusion in the electoral college for the upcoming All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) elections.
AIFF is currently in turmoil as the board is being run by the Supreme Court (SC)-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) after former president Praful Patel's ouster.
After the Supreme Court of India directed the AIFF to conduct elections in the national federation, FIFA issued its warning. In a strongly worded letter in association with Asian Football Confederation (AFC), FIFA, earlier on August remarked:
"AIFF was to call for a special general assembly in the first week of August 2022 to approve the new statute worked upon with FIFA, the AFC and the Indian football community. Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Supreme Court’s hearing held yesterday on the situation of the AIFF allegedly resulted in deviations to the aforementioned roadmap."
It further added, “If this is considered to be true, it would irrefutably jeopardise the mutual understanding which was displayed so far on the steps forward."
A ban from FIFA is expected to be catastrophic for Indian football as the national teams will not be able to take part in any international tournament. The ISL and I-League clubs who are set to compete in FIFA-governed tournaments will also be barred from participating in them. However, the most heartbreaking news will be the cancellation of host duties for the U-17 Women's World Cup. It can set back the women's game another 10-15 years.