In a game of smoke and mirrors, FIFA’s decision to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) could lead to an immediate crisis and the move could harm India’s long-term interests.


Why is it worrying?

  • It is a matter of embarrassment that Indian football is staring at international isolation.
  • It will also be a travesty if the players, coaches, referees and others involved in the sport suffer because of poor governance, which has led to the suspension.
  • Steps should have been taken in time to ensure that the actions of an inept few do not affect the majority.


What is the issue?

  • For months, the government, judiciary and administrators have been trying to work out a formula, including drafting of strict rules, to improve the governance of the AIFF.
  • Many issues were ironed out but a big bone of contention, which apparently contributed to the suspension, was the inclusion of players in the AIFF decision-making process.
  • The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators gave players a 50 per cent representation in AIFF’s executive committee as co-opted members, as against 25 per cent recommended by FIFA.
  • The state associations, who form the AIFF, felt threatened that such a move would undermine them and opposed it.
  • Almost immediately, FIFA stepped in by suspending the AIFF, citing third-party interference, and demanded the CoA be repealed.


What could have been done?

  • For Indian football fans, it is hard not to feel let down by all parties involved. This was a chance for the AIFF, which has been ruled by two politicians for the last 34 years, to get its house in order by way of radical reforms.
  • Barring a few, the state associations have remained dormant for decades. It can be argued that the CoA could have been more practical in its approach.
  • And FIFA, instead of protecting its own, could have been sensitive to players’ interests.



Indian football has a deep-rooted governance problem. It won’t be solved by a FIFA suspension.


SourceThe Indian Express


QUESTION – The suspension of All India Football Federation by the FIFA is a reminder that Indian football has a deep-rooted governance problem. Discuss how it can be resolved now given that it has learnt the hard lesson.