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In a potentially significant move for football administration in India, the Supreme Court indicated on Friday that an eminent former footballer may be asked to assist former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi in overseeing the working of the AIFF.
The Delhi High Court had on October 31 set aside the election of Praful Patel as president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on the grounds that it was conducted without following the National Sports Code and asked for fresh polls within five months.
The High Court had also appointed S. Y. Quraishi as the AIFF administrator.
While hearing the AIFF's plea against that order on Friday, the apex court reserved its judgment and the next hearing will take place on Monday.
"Till the final order is released any report or statement on outcome of the matter is merely speculative. A formal statement will be made by the AIFF upon receipt of the detailed order."
While filing a plea against the Delhi High Court's order earlier this week, AIFF counsel Amit Anand Tiwari had contended that the appointment of an administrator for running the affairs of the federation may result in it being derecognised by FIFA -- the international body for football.
Tiwari had told the apex court that if the High Court order was not stayed, the AIFF would not be able to bid for the hosting of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The petition said that the bidding process for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2019 is to be completed by November 14.
The AIFF counsel had also referred to 11 international football events that will take place this year and over the next two years and the chances of the country's national team participating in them may be jeopardised if it continues to be run by the court-appointed administrator.
AIFF referred to the FIFA suspending the affiliation of the Pakistan Football Federation after the appointment of an administrator by the Lahore High Court.
Recently the Lahore High Court had appointed an administrator for the Pakistan Football Federation and FIFA, invoking Article 16 Para 1, Article 16 Para 3 and Article 13 of the FIFA statute, suspended the affiliation of the Pakistan Football Federation.
Patel became acting president of the AIFF in 2008 when its then chief, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi suffered a cardiac arrest. He was installed as full-time president in October 2009 and was re-elected for a second stint in December 2012.
He got a shot at his third stint as AIFF chief in December last year.