NEW DELHI: Observing that the players who make sports popular by their skills, performance, knowledge and athleticism on field, must be given a say in administration of sports and not only to the bureaucrats and politicians, the Supreme Court directed that interim executive committee for All India Football Federation would be elected not only by 36 state federations but also by 36 eminent former football players which means the players would have 50% vote share.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala said that sports flourishes because of the players’ performance on the fields and giving them a voice in the administration of sports would be very beneficial for the growth of sports in India.
As India is to host the Under 17 Women’s World Cup in October, which as per FIFA must be organised and managed by an elected body, the bench directed court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to conduct the polls expeditiously on the basis of the draft constitution framed by it. The bench accepted the suggestion of the CoA that the general body, which would vote and elect an executive committee, should comprise not only 36 state associations but also 36 eminent players who had previously played for India at International level.
The apex court is well-intentioned in bringing in former internationals to vote for AIFF’s interim executive committee. This will certainly create a more player-friendly set-up. However, there’s no guarantee that a former international will be a good administrator too. Or, vice-versa. What AIFF needs is honest, committed and smart officials – whether former players or not – who not only understand and care about the game but also know how to run it.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the CoA, told the bench that there may not be many women international players in the country so out of 36 players 24 should be male players and 12 female players. He said that the players would be selected from the National Football Players Association as there may not be eminent footballers in each state and those who have played more matches would be given preference. The state associations opposed the suggestion of making former players part of electoral college to elect executive committee and said that it was against FIFA rules and National Sports Code.