Former Indian Captains File PIL against AIFF

It looks like AIFF’s bad times aren’t going to leave them any time soon as another trouble ensues to the country’s football governing body. On Friday, two former Indian Football Captains filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against AIFF and Sports Ministry, ‘alleged Mismanagement and mishandling of funds by AIFF’.  Bhaskar Ganguly, former Goalkeeper and Captain of the 1982 Asian Games, along with Manoranjan Bhattacharya, former Defender and also a former captain are the two litigants. As reported in the National Daily, TOI the PIL states, “AIFF has grossly mismanaged and arbitrarily administered the sport the sport of football in the country, resulting in violations of the rights of players, domestic clubs and the football watching public in India.”

PIL seeks the Supreme Court to direct an appropriate committee to oversee the state and development of Indian football. The PIL also blames IMG-RIL, which owns almost all rights in the Indian football, for promoting only their own Indian Super league (ISL) and ignoring other division and disregarding the clubs who have been the backbone of the game so far. Citing the examples various numbers of Clubs withdrawing from the leagues over the past four years since the contract was signed. Reputed clubs Mahindra United FC, JCT, Chirag United, Pailan Arrows (owned by AIFF itself) had to shut operations. While newly promoted clubs or newly launched clubs like Royal Wahingdoh, Pune FC and Bharat Fc withdrew within few years, with Bharat FC lasting just one year. The PIL stated the behavior and unprofessional attitude towards these clubs were the reason.

PIL claimed that few sections of the Indian Constitution such as 14, 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (g) have been evoked. It also alleges that both AIFF and IMG-RIL have ignored their obligation towards the domestic tournaments like Durand Cup, Rovers Cup and Federation cup. Although AIFF brought back FED CUP this year, it was discontinued once like others. The complains also focused on travelling expenses undertaken by AIFF claiming that while it denies basic facilities to the budding footballers, 65 Lakhs are spent on meeting expenses. And despite receiving funds from FIFA, two academies in Navi Mumbai and Kolkata have been non-functioning.

Despite such setback, it looks like AIFF are ready to face the situation. Subrata Dutta, the Senior Vice- president of the AIFF, said “AIFF is in Strong Position to answer clearly and transparently all the question raised if required.”  The case is likely to be heard by Supreme Court in August.

With all these new problems for the managing body of Indian football, let’s just hope, this does more good than bad and does not affect the players or the Indian football overall.

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