Former India striker Shabbir Ali is delighted that FIFA lifted its ban on the AIFF, but extended his sympathies to Gokulam Kerala, saying the club ended up being the “losers” in the 11-day “mess”.
The ban on All India Football Federation (AIFF) was revoked by the world football governing body on Friday night.
The lifting of the ban means India will be able to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup and the Indian clubs can now continue to participate in tournaments held under the aegis of FIFA and AFC.
“AIFF should have thought about holding the elections in time. It’s good that ban has been revoked,” Ali told PTI on Saturday.
“But in all this mess, it’s not ATK Mohun Bagan nor U-17 Women’s World Cup in India, but Gokulam Kerala who has ended up being losers. Why would they suffer? AIFF should think about compensating them,” he added.
It all started to go from bad to worse when controversial former AIFF president Praful Patel, whose third term ended in December 2020, continued to stay in office beyond the permissible 12 years.
The Supreme Court forced Patel and his executive committee to step down and appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to oversee the affairs of the federation.
However, FIFA saw this as “undue influence from third parties” and suspended the AIFF on August 15.
With the Supreme Court ending the tenure of CoA earlier this week, FIFA revoked the ban on Friday.
But the 11-day ban forced Gokulam Kerala, the reigning Indian Women’s League champions, to miss the AFC Women’s Club Championship.
The 66-year-old Ali also questioned the world governing body, FIFA’s stand.
“FIFA on one hand says no third-party intervention. Can the World Cup be held without the government’s help?” he added.
Former midfielder Renedy Singh, ex-skipper Bhaichung Bhutia and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also welcomed FIFA’s decision to lift the suspension. “It’s good news. Happy to hear the news as soon as I get up in the morning. Whatever happens, the beautiful game of football should continue. Looking forward to watching the under 17 World Cup in a few weeks,” Singh said.
“Wonderful news. FIFA lifts ban on Indian Football,” Bhutia tweeted.
Rijiju added: “Good news as FIFA lifts ban of All India Football Federation after Supreme Court removed the mandate of the Committee of Administrators from the affairs of AIFF.”