Indian football: Player power could create conflict in AIFF draft constitution

By on 18th July 2022

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) working draught of the AIFF constitution, which was handed to FIFA and state delegates early on Wednesday, mentions India’s premier league, increased agency for players, and a necessary cooling-off time between three four-year terms for office-bearers.

The draught might lead to a dispute with state associations and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), which operates India’s top-tier league, the Indian Super League.

“Seniormost top division league shall mean the league competition owned, operated, recognised and directly managed by AIFF…function/roles cannot be assigned to any other entity or organisation,” according to the draft.

This might violate the master rights agreement between AIFF and FSDL, which is in effect until 2025.

The idea that full members of the AIFF (of whom there are 36) be granted two representatives in the federation’s general body raises the prospect of a dispute as well.

According to the draught, one will be nominated “from its executive committee,” while the other will be an “outstanding player.”

According to the draught, any former international who has played at least five senior India games is under the age of 66, and retired at least two years ago qualifies as an illustrious player.

States that don’t have any will lose out on a vote and given that it could be nearly 40% of AIFF’s affiliates, they might not accept this.

The draught has reduced the executive committee from 20 members, including three nominated, to 12 members by dividing the AIFF into five zones, one of which is for north-eastern states.

According to the proposed constitution, the executive committee would consist of five prominent players, including two women, as well as a representative from each zone.

They will form the executive committee, together with the president and treasurer, and will be AIFF office-bearers.

According to the draught, any office-bearer or general body member, or their family members, cannot have held a professional contract with AIFF in the two years prior to seeking a term.

All executive committee members must be under the age of 70 and be chosen by the AIFF’s general body, with a presidential candidate needing more than 50% of the valid votes to be successful.

If there are more than two presidential candidates, the “Preferential Vote System (as proposed by FIFA)” will be employed. That is, in each voting round, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated before one receives more than 50% of the vote.

All other positions will be filled using the ‘first past the post’ system, according to the draught.

The proposal also permits a government or public sector project, as well as a corporate body interested in game promotion, to become an associate member of AIFF. This could open participation of PSUs in the Santosh Trophy and encourage employment of more footballers.

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