AIFF president Praful Patel sacked by Delhi HC
Praful Patel served as the AIFF chief for around 8 years.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has been sacked by the Delhi High Court, after it found that the apex football governing body of the country did not hold its elections in compliance with the National Sports Code.
Instead, the Delhi HC has appointed former Chief Election Commissioner YS Quraishi as the AIFF administrator. A fresh set of elections is set to be held within the next five months, to elect the new AIFF chief.
This order from the Delhi HC comes just a few days after India hosted one of its most marquee football events – the FIFA U17 World Cup.
Praful Patel has been the AIFF chief for around eight years now, and is also the chief of the Western India Football Association (WIFA). He had taken over the reins of the AIFF from former president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who fell severely ill towards the end of his tenure as the AIFF chief. At that time, Praful Patel was acting as one of the vice-presidents of the football governing body.
Being the AIFF chief for a long time, Patel has also been nominated as the vice-president of the AFC, and had also held important positions in FIFA.
Under Patel, Indian football had shown a lot of improvement over the last few years, with the Indian Super League increasing the popularity of the sport in the country. Meanwhile, the national team had also performed brilliantly to climb up the FIFA rankings, and even qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
However, hosting the FIFA U17 World Cup in October could be viewed as the biggest achievement by Patel during his regime, as thousands of fans poured into the stadiums in New Delhi, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai, and many other places. While Indian football seemed to be heading in the right direction over the last few years, it remains to be seen how this move will affect the sport in the country.