Ah, the All India Football Federation. Trust them to keep the entertainment level high; the fact that there is no real football happening is rather irrelevant. The past week, especially the last four days, has seen the universe descend most deeply Indian football condition it has ever been in (demonstrable).
Saturday night: Igor Stimac – after three consecutive victories and qualification for the Asian Cup – gives a sensational interview for a group of journalists† Without the intervention of the AIFF media department, as is the norm. Among other things, he questions (a lot of) the timing of the appointment of the Management Committee and regrets that they have not yet started his discussion about the extension of his contract.
In his own words, because there is nothing quite like it: “We could be in trouble very soon if these elections are not held sooner than later if we don’t get organized, which I see now is impossible.”
The problem he was talking about was that FIFA actually looked unfriendly at federations where political intervention was taking place. Such as India’s neighboring countries, Pakistan, which are banned.
Monday evening: For nothing, the CoA sets up an advisory committee to “advise and assist them in the day-to-day business” (a committee to advise another committee set up to give advice. Bureaucracy: Must love it ).
Ranjit Bajaj, owner of FC Delhi and ardent critic of the previous regime, is appointed chairman. He is also in charge of integrity matters. There are 11 others in charge of everything from logistics to legal to finance, many of them known for voicing criticism of the Praful Patel’s administration. All this while most members of the Patel administration remained at their posts.
Earlier that day, the AIFF announced that their general secretary Kushal Das had gone on ‘medical leave’. Indefinitely.
In case you didn’t know, Bajaj had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Das with the National Women’s Commission last month and had written to the ethics committees of both FIFA and AFC. The AIFF’s integrity officer then gave Das a blank slate, calling the allegations “flirious and devoid of truth.”
Tuesday evening: A very high-level delegation from FIFA and AFC lands in India to assess the situation… why has India’s highest court appointed a CoA?
Tuesday evening: Jaydeep Basu, senior journalist and member of the advisory committee (‘media and communication affairs’) brought this out Twitter†
A team in Asian Cup qlfs did not depend only on skills. An Astrologers’ Co. was paid Rs. 16 lakh of money fed by an official to ensure the happiness of the team. Later, the co-address was found to be false. But the team won. The officer was asked to go on leave. How interesting @IndianFootball
— Jaydeep Basu (@jaydeepbasu) June 21, 2022
(What does anyone even say about that?!)
Tuesday night: Reports are coming in that the advisory committee has been dissolved. It takes about 24 hours… East Bengal has held sponsors longer.
However, there are two conflicting reports as to the reasons behind the dissolution, and neither bodes well for the CoA. One suggests that the CoA decided it wasn’t necessary and disbanded it before the FIFA-AFC delegation even met them (underlining their…decisiveness? what to abide by?).
On Wednesday, the delegation will meet with the union’s sports minister for a new round of talks with the CoA, which is scheduled for Thursday. Meanwhile, the rest of us are wondering if this week can get even more Indian football.