World football’s governing body, FIFA has recommended AIFF to have 25 per cent eminent player representation in its Executive Committee as co-opted members instead of the 50 per cent stipulated in the draft constitution by CoA.
The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, which is running the sport in the country, had sent the final draft constitution to FIFA on July 13.
In response to that, FIFA-AFC made its observations in a letter written to AIFF acting general secretary Sunando Dhar.
“As per the draft Statutes shared with us, there will be an additional 35 Eminent Players in the AIFF Congress from the exiting 35 Member Associations. Although we agree that the players’ voice needs to be heard, we are also of the view that the importance of the existing members of the AIFF should not be undermined,” it said in the letter.
“To bring in 50 per cent of the members in the Congress structure which equals the current membership structure is not prudent idea, and the AIFF should seek to be more diverse in future.
“However, we understand the requirements of the Sports Code of India and recommend AIFF to bring in a presence of above 25 per cent of the Eminent Players in the AIFF Executive Committee as Co-opted Members.” The draft constitution also says that a state association office-bearer who becomes AIFF executive member shall automatically relinquish the state body post and vice versa.
However, FIFA-AFC said “such a proposal would make it difficult for the Members to get re-elected again at the respective Member Associations in the event that they cannot serve their full term in the Executive Committee of AIFF for any reason.” According to Article 25.5 of the draft constitution, “if the President is permanently or temporarily prevented from performing his/her official function, the Executive Committee shall decide a person to represent him or her until the next AGM (Annual General Body Meeting) or SGM, whichever is earlier.”
However, FIFA-AFC said “it would undermine the importance of the elected officials by the AIFF Congress as it would appear to grant the Executive Committee the power to bring in a person to represent [the President] even from outside of the Executive Committee.
“Therefore, FIFA and the AFC are of the view that the relevant provision should specify that any person acting for or representing the President when the latter is permanently or temporarily prevented from performing his/her official function, should be chosen from amongst the existing AIFF Executive Committee Members.
“Another option would be to create the position of Vice-President / Vice- Presidents in the AIFF Executive Committee and provide in the AIFF Statutes that such official(s) would step in, in the absence of the President.” FIFA-AFC also said that a provision stipulating that the term limits have no retroactive effect should be added in article 26 “to ensure any previous term already fulfilled by any Executive Committee Members are not taken into account in calculating the maximum number of terms.”
The letter also mentions the concerns raised by local football stake-holders that the Supreme Court may also establish in its decision that any future amendments to the AIFF Statutes will have to be validated again by the Courts.
“In this regard, we are of the opinion that the AIFF Congress, as the supreme and legislative body of AIFF, should remain entitled in future to amend the AIFF Statutes without the need for the Courts to validate the relevant changes,” FIFA-AFC said.
“In this context, and for the sake of good order, we would like to stress that any future changes to the AIFF Statutes should however be fully in line with the requirements and principles of both FIFA and the AFC, in addition to the national legal framework in place.”
A FIFA-AFC team had visited the country last month to take stock of the situation after the SC ousted the office bearers led by Praful Patel and had set strict deadlines to hold elections by September 15.
The Supreme Court is likely to finalise the constitution during its hearing on July 28 to enable AIFF to hold elections.