It's not been even a week since the conclusion of the highly successful FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 in India. At a time when fans are just building further expectations with regards to the rise of Indian football, here comes a major blow, on Tuesday October 31.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel requested FIFA President Gianni Infantino time and again to give the country a chance to host the U-20 World Cup 2019. Now, going by the latest development, Patel might not even be at helm if India, at all, gets a chance to host another grand event, two years from now.
The Delhi High Court has acted on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by sports activist Rahul Mehra and has ordered the Indian football governing body to conduct fresh presidential elections within a period of five months.
Mehra alleged in his petition that the AIFF elections back in December 2016 were conducted without adherence to the National Sports Code. Patel got elected as the AIFF president for the third time in a row last December.
SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, has been made the AIFF Administrator who would oversee the proceedings henceforth. The judgement was passed by a bench comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Najmi Waziri.
One of the most surprising elements of the AIFF constitution is that there is no stipulated tenure for the president. Patel has completed almost eight years as the AIFF President and as per the national sports code, he is eligible to hold that post for four more years.
This gives the sense of holding on to the position as long as someone wants to.
Interestingly, only earlier this year, Patel mentioned to the press that the Indian governing body embraced the country's sports code from the very beginning. The code includes the 70-year age cap for employees, sets the number of terms for office bearers and also the one-state-one-vote policy.
Patel replaced Priyaranjan Das Munshi as the AIFF president, back in October 2009.