A red card at last

Source: The post is based on the article “A red card at last” published in the Business Standard on 20th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Development Processes and the Development Industry — the Role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Relevance: Issues and reforms in various sports Association functioning in India

News: Recently, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) suspended the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) with retrospective effect, from August 14.

Argument against the suspension

The action is being perceived, by many, as an arbitrary and authoritarian action.

What are the reasons for the suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF)?

FIFA has cited “third-party interference” as the reason for the suspension of the AIFF. It means the failure to put in place a constitution and an elected administrative structure that is in consonance with FIFA’s statutory regime.

Underlying Causes

Over three decades, the AIFF has been administered by only two people at the top: i.e., the late Priya Ranjan Das Munshi (1988-2008) and Praful Patel (2009-2022).

Further, the AIFF is not administered by people who have a meaningful association with the game. For example, both people mentioned above were politicians.

No head has been appointed for the past three-odd months in the AIFF. This is because Mr. Patel was removed in May.

Problems in other sports administration bodies: Every sports body in India is facing administrative problems. This can be seen from the following examples:

(1) Hockey India is also being run by a committee of administrators. The Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) also wants India to adopt a new constitution, under which elections must be held to put in place a new administration.

(2) In 2017, the Supreme Court tried to reform the cricket administration. The court appointed a committee of administrators. Thereafter, a constitution was framed, and a new president was elected to head a fresh committee to run the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The International Cricket Council (ICC) gave India the leeway and the time needed for such a transition.

(3) The Indian Olympic Association has been threatened with sanctions this year.

The problems are most often caused by the involvement of politicians who have no business being involved in the first place and who are in the game only to make a fast buck.

What should be the future course of action?

Lessons should be learned from the chess federation which has revivified its functioning well in time which will allow Tamil Nadu to host this year’s edition of the Olympiad.

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