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SC removes Praful Patel; appoints panel to manage All India Football Federation affairs

New Delhi, May 18

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a three- member Committee of Administrators (CoA) led by Justice AR Dave (retd) to manage the affairs of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and adoption of its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

A Bench led by Justices DY Chandrachud said the COA will include two earlier members ndash; former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi and former Indian Football Team captain Bhaskar Ganguly.

On May 12, the top court had agreed to hear a plea of the Delhi Football Club alleging the illegal continuation of a committee and Praful Patel as president of AIFF for over a decade.

Noting that the current state of affairs was not in the interest of proper governance of the federation, the Bench — which also included Justice Surya Kant and Justice PS Narasimha — directed the CoA to forthwith take charge of the AIFF and assist the court by providing inputs to the court in facilitating the adoption of the constitution by the AIFF in accordance with the National Sports Code and model guidelines.

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, it said.

“The committee of administrators shall carry out day-to-day governance of the All India Football Federation”, the bench said, adding the COA will be at liberty to take the assistance of the erstwhile committee of the federation in holding of tournaments and selection of players and other affairs.

The bench said the newly constituted committee of administrators shall sit in Football House at Dwarka or any other place of convenience.

The top court clarified that this is pro-tem arrangement in order to facilitate the holding of elections and handing over the affairs to the democratically elected body in accordance with the constitution.

The top court was told by lawyer Prashant Bhushan that an illegal committee is continuing to head the AIFF due to the non-hearing of a petition of the football body against the 2017 decision of the Delhi High Court.

Earlier, the Sports Ministry had told the court that Patel had no mandate to continue as AIFF president as he had already served three terms and the national body should hold elections without further delay.

The AIFF had moved an application in the Supreme Court only a month before its elections were due, seeking certain clarifications on the status of its constitution, which was under scrutiny in the top court since 2017.

In 2017, the Delhi High Court had set aside the election of Patel as AIFF president (in the 2016 AGM) on a petition by senior advocate Rahul Mehra.

But the Supreme Court had stayed the high court decision, allowing Patel to continue in his role, while also appointing Qureshi and Ganguly as administrators and to formulate the AIFF constitution.

The three-member committee was asked to submit its report in three months.

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