FIFA suspends Indian Football Association over third-party influence

According to FIFA, India can no longer host the U17 Women’s World Cup in October.

India has been banned from participating in international football tournaments by FIFA [Getty]

FIFA has suspended the Indian Football Association, meaning the country will currently be unable to host the U17 Women’s World Cup in October.

World football’s governing body said its council had unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation “on the basis of improper third-party influence, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes”.

Associations must be free from legal and political interference according to FIFA rules.

The AIFF is in disarray and run by administrators after former chief Praful Patel stayed in office beyond his tenure without new elections, which were invalidated by courts.

Fresh elections are due to be held on August 28, and the voting process began last week after India’s Supreme Court approved a schedule drawn up by administrators.

India is due to host the U-17 tournament from October 11-30, but FIFA said on Monday that the suspension “cannot currently take place in India as planned”.

FIFA said it was “in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth and Sport in India and hopes the case will have a positive outcome.”

India men’s and women’s national teams are also unable to play any junior or senior international matches during the suspension.

Former men’s captain Bhaichung Bhutia called the suspension “very harsh”.

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“At the same time, I think it’s a great opportunity to get our system right,” he told Indian sports news agency sports star.

“And it’s very important that everyone involved – the federations, state federations, the Ministry of Sport – come together to get the system right and everyone works to improve the sport.”

India captain Sunil Chhetri recently advised his players “not to pay too much attention” to the threat of a FIFA ban as the situation is beyond their control.

“The suspension will be lifted once an order to establish an Administrative Committee to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been lifted and the AIFF administration regains full control over the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF,” FIFA said.

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