FIFA lifts Indian federation ban, U-17 World Cup to go ahead as planned

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FIFA has lifted the suspension imposed on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier this month due to undue third-party influence, world soccer’s governing body said on Friday.

The lifting of the ban also means that the Under-17 women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in India from October 11 to 30, will be held in the country as planned.

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India’s top court disbanded the AIFF in May and appointed a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to govern the sport, amend the AIFF’s constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months, leading to FIFA’s suspension.

Member federations must be free from legal and political interference and FIFA said the suspension would only be lifted once the order to set up the CoA was repealed and the AIFF administration regained full control of its daily affairs.

Earlier this week, AIFF’s Acting General Secretary Sunando Dhar informed FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura that the Supreme Court had directed the full repeal of the CoA mandate to ensure the AIFF had full charge of its daily affairs.

“The decision (to lift the ban) was taken after FIFA received confirmation that the mandate of the Committee of Administrators that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated,” FIFA said in a statement.

“FIFA and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) will continue to monitor the situation and will support the AIFF in organizing its elections in a timely manner.”

The elections of the AIFF, formerly led by FIFA Council member Praful Patel, were due to be held by December 2020 but delayed due to an impasse over amendments to its constitution.

“The darkest hour of Indian football is finally over,” Dhar said in an AIFF statement. “We sincerely thank FIFA and AFC, especially the AFC General Secretary Windsor John for guiding us in such difficult times.

“We also take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Sports Minister Anurag Thakur for solidly standing by us at this crucial juncture.”

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