Praful Patel’s term as the president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) could extend beyond December, when it was originally supposed to expire, after the governing body filed an application in the Supreme Court to allow its executive committee to hold office until a pending case is adjudicated.
The four-year term of the current executive committee, led by Patel, ends on December 21. Patel, who has been AIFF president since 2012, will not be able to seek a third consecutive term due to the existing guidelines. But he could stay on for an indefinite period after the AIFF requested for an extension until the elections, which will be held after the court approves the new constitution.
In a letter to the president and secretaries of all affiliated units on Monday, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said they were ‘not in a position’ to conduct the elections next month.
“The Federation has approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide an application filed on 21st November, 2020 for seeking the following prayers: 1. Allow the Executive Committee elected on 21st December, 2016 in its Annual General Body Meeting to continue to hold office till a new Executive Committee is formed pursuant to an Election conducted in accordance with the new Constitution and may be approved by the Hon’ble Court and/or; 2. Pass such order/orders as the Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the fact and circumstances of the present case.”
Three years ago, the Supreme Court had mandated former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi to form a new constitution for the AIFF, after the Delhi High Court had set aside Patel’s election in 2016. The Delhi High Court had observed that the National Sports Development Code of 2011 was not followed while conducting those elections.
The new constitution had to be drafted within eight weeks but the task is yet to be completed, the AIFF said in its letter.