The All India Football Federation (AIFF) fears suspension by FIFA if an ad-hoc body is placed in charge during its AGM next month as it seeks to avoid conducting elections due to a lack of Sports Code compliant constitution. (More Football News)
People aware of the development in the federation said that the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic has also discouraged the AIFF from going ahead with the elections during its Annual General Meeting on December 21.
The four-year term of the current executive committee, led by Praful Patel, ends next month and the AIFF has announced that its AGM will be held as scheduled.
"In view of the AIFF Constitution not confirmed as per sports code and keeping in mind the threat posed by the fast-evolving COVID situation, the AIFF does not have options apart from seeking an extension in the court," a source told PTI on Sunday.
"The committee's term is set to end on 21st December 2020 but the lack of a constitution on the lines of the National Sports Code derives that the AIFF are unable to hold elections to form the next executive committee," another source added.
In this scenario, if the term of the current committee expires and the court "appoints an ad-hoc administrator to take charge of Indian FA, there is a high chance of FIFA banning India".
"Hence, AIFF had no other option but to appeal to the Supreme Court to extend the term of the current committee or give any other directions as necessary," the source said.
In October 2017, the Delhi High Court stated that the elections were held without following the then newly-implemented National Sports Code and appointed former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi as an independent administrator to look after the AIFF's affairs until fresh elections are held.
The AIFF went on to approach the Supreme Court against the decision, arguing that "India was in danger of being de-recognised by FIFA".
The Supreme Court stayed the High Court's ruling in November and appointed ombudsmen (Qureshi and former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly) to formulate a new AIFF constitution within eight weeks and then conduct elections.
The court allowed the current executive committee members to discharge their duties till then.
"They are unable to conduct fresh elections due to lack of a constitution," the source said.
AIFF's last elections were contested because the legality of the existing constitution was challenged back then.
As far as the formulation of the constitution is concerned, it "depends on the ombudsmen and their propositions".
"AIFF has communicated with them regularly as and when required."
Asked when the federation is contemplating holding the elections, sources said it may not be possible to give a time frame anytime soon.
"As of now, it's not possible to mention a timeline but the AIFF is awaiting directions from the Supreme Court."