The Supreme Court today directed the conduct of the election in the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The Bench comprising of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice A. S. Bopanna directed the extension of the date of election of AIFF by one week. The Court appointed returning officers for the conduct of the election. The Court appointed Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan as an amicus curiae.

The Bench also said in the order the Sports Ministry will take appropriate action as per law on the final report of the forensic audit of the previous committee's affairs.

When a lawyer for a state association objected to the Court recording that the returning officers are being appointed with the consent of all parties, Court observed that "Praful Patel is trying to torpedo the tournament" and that the association concerned is also trying to do the same. The lawyer then withdrew his submission.

The Bench said during the hearing that the "tournament has to come to India, that's our priority now". The Bench also said that the Supreme Court will be blamed if the World Cup does not come to India.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Union said that there are two disastrous consiquence of the ban by FIFA. "We lose our right to host the world cup which is already given to us. Second, none of our players can play international matches", he said.

Mehta said that FIFA has a uniform policy on bans and that India is not being singled out. "We have entered into discussions with them and they highlighted certain issues that bother them", he said.

"There may be vested interest who may have played some role. They say that we want the management to be in the hands of either an elected body or someone selected by an elected body and third-party interference is not acceptable", Mehta said.

One insistence was that the players will have to be part of the administration he said, adding that 25% of the elected representative body be eminent players.

On Bhaichung Bhutia's application, Mehta said that he is a legend in the field. Mehta also said that persons like him at times become a handle of someone else. "He wants to be part of the executive committee. The government wants him to have a larger role in the field of football than what he is aiming for", Solicitor General said.

"I am not being anybody's handle", Basant, the Counsel for Bhutia said. He said that there are vested interests in state bodies. He said that the tone and tenor of the emails of FIFA are shocking. He said that FIFA has demanded that Supreme Court's order should be changed. "The least they can do is respect the majesty of the Supreme Court", he said.

"Do we assert our authority at the cost of the tournament coming to India?", Justice Chandrachud asked.

Bhutia's Counsel responded by saying that if reforms can be brought at the cost of losing the tournament, it should be done.

"COA has no interest in clinging on to their positions" Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said. "Mr. Solicitor has not even suggested that", said Justice Chandrachud.

To doubt the Committee of Administration (COA) is to doubt this Hon'ble Court. This is the tone and tenor of the correspondence of FIFA, Gopal Sankaranarayanan said.

Gopal Sankaranarayanan said that the Committee is of the view that the reform sought to be done in the administration should proceed even at the cost of the adverse action being taken by FIFA.

Talk to the Solicitor General to ensure that there is some role for a distinguished player like Bhutia, Justice Chandrachud asked Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Justice Chandrachud expressed displeasure over FIFA treating Supreme Court's intervention as an intervention by a third party. "It is not lost to the government also. We also don't like to be buckled", Tushar Mehta said.

Tushar Mehta also said that the Court may direct criminal action against culprits if the forensic audit of the previous committee finds siphoning of funds. He said that Court should supervise the criminal investigation. He also said that we will not stand in the way of initiating criminal contempt action.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Praful Patel said that he is endorsing whatever the Solicitor General said and that he is not wanting to hold any post. On the Court's query as to whether Patel will step down from FIFA, Sibal said that Patel was elected to his post in FIFA. He said that Patel can't be the president, even if he wishes since he has served three terms.


FIFA had suspended AIFF last week stating that, "the Bureau of FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation with immediate effect due to undue influence from the third party, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA statutes." It was stated by FIFA that the suspension would be revoked once AIFF regains control over the daily affairs and the Committee of Administrators is dissolved.

This order of suspension came after the Supreme Court appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators comprising retired Supreme Court Judge Anil R. Dave, Former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Qureshi, and Former Captain of Indian Football Team Bhaskar Ganguly with regards to the matter.

On the last date of hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Court that the Government of India had intervened in the matter and had been holding meetings with the Council of FIFA over holding of the U-17 Women's world cup in India. The country was scheduled to host the FIFA tournament from October 11. This is the first time that the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year-old history.

The Supreme Court had also asked the Government of India to play a proactive role in the matter and facilitate the lifting of the suspension of AIFF.