The All India Football Federation (AIFF) were unable to send a representative for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF), due to the woes currently plaguing the football federation in India.
The SAFF elections will take place on July 2nd at its headquarters in Dhaka and is expected to be won by Bangladesh Football Federation chief, Kazi Salahuddin for the fourth time in a row. The AIFF’s senior vice president Subrata Dutta was supposed to represent India in the meeting, but he withdrew his nomination on Friday night after the AIFF’s member associations expressed their displeasure following an appeal from ousted president, Praful Patel to the CoA for Dutta.
Patel virtually attended the final meeting of the visiting FIFA-AFC delegation with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and representatives of AIFF state associations on Thursday. The AIFF’s acting general secretary Sunando Dhar was also present in the meeting.
“After FIFA announced a deadline of Sept 15 to conduct elections and July 31 for approval of the new constitution, the meeting had practically ended with half of the attendants leaving their seats. Then Patel requested to speak and appealed to allow Subrata Dutta to stand for the election so that India does not go unrepresented in SAFF,” a state official reportedly told News9.
“FIFA said it’s not really our agenda so we will leave it to the CoA. The CoA said they will think about it. It was unnecessarily raised in a meeting held for some other issue, particularly on the eve of an election when the constitution is being discussed,” the report added.
A southern state body official didn’t want to read too much into it, reminding of the more pressing issues in hand for Indian football.
“I don’t think it is a significant development. Not all countries of SAFF are attending the meeting and we can always do this after we get a new constitution and a new committee can come in. I believe that the CoA or somebody on their behalf has spoken to the SAFF secretary, who have assured that when a new committee comes in, they can always nominate someone or fill the vacant slot in the next annual general meeting,” he told News9, requesting anonymity.
“What is more important is for state associations to stay together to get a new constitution in consultation with the CoA and set the wheels of elections in motion and meet the deadlines set by FIFA to avoid a ban.”