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Order passed for derecognition of AIFF- Dominoes falling in Indian sports

18 Dec 2012, 23:23 IST

One has to wonder where the buck will stop. One after another like a stack of dominoes, our sports federations and associations are being derecognized or suspended left, right and center. First it was the IOA’s suspension. IOA, the supreme body in Indian sports some may call it since it covers a number of disciplines which are displayed on the biggest stage in sports in the world, the Olympics. After the IOA was suspended by the IOC, the boxing federation followed suit. And then came the Archery Association of India. Now it’s the turn of Indian football as the Delhi High court has passed an interim order asking the government to derecognize the All India Football Federation for contravening the sports code.

The sports code is the big elephant in the room crowding out one and all federations. It’s all been about elections of officials to posts and these federations have either went by the code or against the code and either way, have been suspended. The IOA went by the code and was suspended and the AIFF went against it and its derecognition is being called for.

The Delhi High Court had called for the AIFF to follow the sports code for its next elections which were scheduled for December 20. This court order came on a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by Rahul Mehra who wanted either postponement or stay on elections, contesting that they were being held in violation of the “Model Election Guidelines of the sports code and other provisions of the Government sports code.” He has got his wish as the court has ordered for the AIFF to be derecognized.

This isn’t the first time Rahul Mehra has tangled with the sports federations in India. Let’s pause for a minute to do a roll call of the bodies he has tussled with:
- SAI (Sports Authority of India)
- NSNIS (Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports)
- IOA (Indian Olympic Association)
- AAFI (Amateur Athletics Federation of India)
- BAI (Badminton Association of India)
- AICF (All India Chess Federation)
- Hockey India
- National Rifle Association of India
- AITA (All India Tennis Association)
- IWLF (Indian Weightlifting Federation of India)
- IABF (Indian Amateur Boxing Federation)

I’d like to see his living room. Half expect it to be decorated with skin rugs of skinned officials instead of bear skins on the floor and head trophies on the wall of all the corrupt sports bodies. Maybe he will put up a football on his mantle today. Assuming all of these are corrupt at some level, this guy is either the best friend of sports in India or the worst enemy or both. In all probability, he’s a buddy.

About the AIFF’s derecognition, these two reasons were what broke the camel’s back:
- AIFF forming its electoral college after the date for finalising nominations had passed.
- AIFF putting a restriction on number of years a person has to be part of executive committee before being eligible for contesting for the top job, also a support of at least five members would be needed for anyone to file for nomination.

Actually a candidate ought to require only one proposer and seconder. The buck doesn’t stop here for the AIFF. Now FIFA may impose sanctions on the AIFF, just like the IOC did to the IOA. My head is spinning right now. Let’s pause here for a minute to do another roll call:

Indian Olympic Association- suspended by the IOC for not holding its elections by the guidelines of IOC and sticking to the sports code.
Archery Association of India- suspended by the government, as its president VK Malhotra has served three terms and is over 70, both violating the restrictions placed by the sports code.
Indian Amateur Boxing Federation- suspended possible for manipulation of result of the elections.
All India Football Federation- suspended for the above cited reasons.

The floodgates have been opened and one by one the federations are falling like dominoes. I know Abhinav Bindra has said that this whitewashing of our sports federations is a cloud with massive deposits of silver linings, but it does feel a little like sitting in a car hurtling at 200 km/hr as the driver reassures you that post reincarnation a better life awaits.

Rahul Mehra had said of the AIFF back in 2010: “”I cannot understand why India cannot have a world-beating football team, I cannot. It is such a big country. There are huge regions, like Goa, Manipur, Bengal, where football is a religion and foreign clubs like Manchester United are idolised. The only reason is we don’t have the right people running the sport. I don’t think it is difficult to run a sport. But everyone is busy protecting his fiefdom.”

Now the wrong people are on the verge of exiting. Perhaps a day will come soon when India too gets a world beating football team. The law of averages says that our country ought to be the second best in all sports, hopefully this will pave the way for it.

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