New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday appointed former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly to the two-member committee which will oversee the working of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) following the removal of its erstwhile President Praful Patel.
Ganguly, who served as captain of the Indian team at the 1982 Asian Games, will serve as ombudsman along with former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi. They have been tasked with formulating the AIFF constitution within eight weeks. The apex court also stayed the recent order of the Delhi High Court against top ranked AIFF officials and allowed all elected committees of the federation to function on a regular basis. The Delhi High Court had on October 31 set aside the election of Praful Patel as AIFF President on the grounds that it was conducted without following the National Sports Code and asked for fresh polls within five months.
The High Court had also appointed S.Y. Quraishi as the AIFF administrator. The order came two days after India successfully hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time. Patel had said during the tournament that India was also looking to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The AIFF had filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the order, arguing that appointment of an administrator for running the affairs of the federation may result in it being derecognised by world football's governing body FIFA. AIFF counsel Amit Anand Tiwari had contended that if the High Court order was not stayed, the AIFF would not be able to bid for the hosting of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The petition said that the bidding process for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2019 is to be completed by November 14. The AIFF counsel had also referred to 11 international football events that will take place this year and over the next two years and the chances of the country's national team participating in them may be jeopardised if it continues to be run by the court-appointed administrator.
Patel became acting President of the AIFF in 2008 when its then chief, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi suffered a cardiac arrest. He was installed as full-time president in October 2009 and was re-elected for a second stint in December 2012. He got a shot at his third stint as AIFF chief in December last year. The AIFF had defended Patel's election for a third term, asserting that it has followed all the provisions laid down by the National Sports Code, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).