State officials ‘not happy’ after meeting with CoA

New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI): A meeting between the state football association representatives and the Committee of Administrators (CoA), regarding the final draft constitution of the national federation, on Wednesday failed to resolve some contentious issues, officials claimed.

The development is worrying as a visiting FIFA-AFC team last month told the Indian stakeholders to approve a new constitution by July 31 and conduct elections by September 15, failing which the world body can ban the All India Football Federation.

A FIFA ban would mean India losing the right to host the Women’s U-17 World Cup, scheduled for October.

State officials said the meeting was “inconclusive” and they were “not satisfied” with the outcome. A seven-member committee was representing the state associations.

But the CoA said it will take into consideration all the suggestions from the state representatives while finalising the draft constitution.

“We had a fruitful meeting with the state association members and valuable suggestions were exchanged. The CoA will take into consideration all the suggestions that have come so far and finalise the constitution to be submitted to honourable Supreme Court,” CoA member SY Quraishi said in a statement.

“All efforts are being made to finalise the AIFF constitution at the earliest and place it before the honourable Supreme Court. We expect the AIFF elections to be held immediately after the apex court approves the constitution,” another CoA member Justice (Retired) Anil Dave said.

It is learnt that there are still at least half a dozen points of disagreement between the state associations and the CoA. One major disagreement is the application of age and tenure rules to all the executive council members of the state associations.

Sources said the CoA also wants the strength of executive committee of AIFF to be reduced to eight.

It is also understood that the state associations are against the application of the age and tenure rules to its executive committee members.

“We thought the contentious issues would be sorted out in the meeting today and a draft would be discussed. But it was not like that. So, the meeting did not yield anything conclusive and we are not satisfied,” a state official told PTI.

“We have the apprehension that the CoA will draft the constitution according to what it deems fit. In that case, it (draft constitution) would not be a document which came out of consensus.”

He expressed apprehension that the strict deadlines set by the FIFA-AFC team may not be fulfilled in such a scenario as some parties may raise “objection” in the Supreme Court.

“We were not given any understanding how our suggestions and objections would be addressed. We have already given our suggestions and objections earlier and we thought a draft would have been prepared and there would be discussions on the draft.”

“We have accepted the National Sports Code. But the proposed draft has many impractical provisions. We have to find a middle path, common ground, on give and take basis.”

“But at this eleventh hour, with limited time we have, we don’t know what will be the shape of the final draft constitution, where our suggestions and objections will be considered or not.”

Sources said before submitting the draft constitution to the Supreme Court, it will be first sent to the FIFA, which will have a look if any statutes of the world governing body are not infringed.