Praful Patel confirms that he’ll demand that the FIFA president give India 2-3 months to conduct elections

Praful Patel, who was removed from the office of president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) by the Supreme Court, said he will call FIFA boss Gianni Infantino on Monday and request him not ban the country and give him two months’ time to conduct elections.

A joint team from FIFA and AFC is set to visit India to “understand the current situation” in the aftermath of the SC order to constitute a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the AIFF’s day-to-day affairs. Besides urging Infantino, Patel, who sits in the all-powerful FIFA Council, will also speak to Fatma Samoura, the secretary-general of the world football governing body. Patel said holding elections at the earliest is critical.

“I will speak to FIFA and tell them that whatever happens if elections take place in two months please give a bit of a leeway to India,” Patel said on Sunday. “Our sport will not suffer that way. This will be my personal pinch, how much it works, how much it doesn’t… because every individual in FIFA council member cannot decide everything,” he said. “I will speak tomorrow. I will even call up president Infantino and also speak to Fatma Samoura and tell them please try to give India two months to hold elections and lets us continue with the game.”

He said he will also try to tell the CoA that there could be a difficult situation so “please try to conduct the elections.” “So, pressure should be there to conduct elections at the earliest, otherwise Indian football will suffer.” During an interaction with PTI, Patel also rejected the charge from some quarters that he deliberately held on to the president’s post. “Who would I have given the charge to if I had left in December 2020.

Also, having elections as per the old constitution would have been a contempt of court,” Patel said. On May 18, the Supreme Court-appointed a three-member CoA headed by former top court judge AR Dave to manage the affairs of the AIFF and frame a constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said the CoA would comprise two earlier members — Dr SY Qureshi, former Chief Election Commissioner and Bhaskar Ganguly, former captain of the Indian football team, besides Justice (retd) Dave. The bench said the CoA will prepare electoral rolls for the purpose of conducting elections to the executive committee of AIFF as per the constitution to be submitted by the two-member committee (ombudsman) of Qureshi and Ganguly. Patel said he has regrets about the manner in which he had to leave, having served as the president of AIFF since 2008.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said the CoA would comprise two earlier members — Dr SY Qureshi, former Chief Election Commissioner and Bhaskar Ganguly, former captain of the Indian football team, besides Justice (retd) Dave.

The bench said the CoA will prepare electoral rolls for the purpose of conducting elections to the executive committee of AIFF as per the constitution to be submitted by the two-member committee (ombudsman) of Qureshi and Ganguly. Patel said he has regrets about the manner in which he had to leave, having served as the president of AIFF since 2008.

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