All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das has gone on leave on health grounds, forcing the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to appoint Sunando Dhar to the post on an interim basis.
The Supreme Court had, on May 18, appointed a three-member CoA – Justice Anil Dave (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India), Dr. SY Qureshi (Former Chief Election Commissioner), and Bhaskar Ganguli (Former Indian Football Captain) to manage the affairs of the AIFF and form its constitution in line with the National Sports Code and model guidelines while carrying out its long-pending elections.
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“Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, has proceeded on leave on account of his health issues, and therefore the Committee of the Administrators has appointed Mr. Sunando Dhar as an Acting General Secretary, who would be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the federation under the guidance of the Committee of Administrators,” the CoA said in a statement on Monday.
Some football officials, however, claimed that there is more to the development than meets the eye.
Dhar, who had in the past served as the League’s chief executive officer, was made the officer on special duty after the CoA took charge of the federation.
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Referring to recent remarks by individuals directly associated with Indian football at the moment, the CoA stated, “The committee has noticed that some individuals have made certain statements with regard to the working of the AIFF and its office bearers.
“The said statements must be reflecting the personal views of those persons as the Committee of the Administrators has not authorised anyone to make any statement on its behalf.”
Earlier in the week, Indian head football team head coach Igor Stimac held a press conference, which was not organised by the AIFF. He raised concerns regarding the functioning of the body and stated that the uncertainty within the federation was not beneficial to the national team’s plans for the year ahead. He also suggested his own changes for the betterment of Indian football.
Among other things, the CoA is set to brief the FIFA delegation, which is visiting the country and begins its meetings with various stakeholders from Wednesday, about its willingness to complete the task assigned to them by the top court within the stipulated time.
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Expressing its urgency to carry out the assigned work at the earliest, the CoA said, “The committee would like to conclude the work entrusted to it by the Honourable Court as soon as possible, and in the process of doing so, the draft constitution of AIFF which might be prepared by the Committee of Administrators would be placed before the Honourable Supreme Court.
“The said suggestions would be appropriately considered by the Honourable Supreme Court on 15th July as directed by the Honourable Court.” It further said, “The Committee of the Administrators will do the needful for holding an election as per the new constitution suggested by the Honourable Supreme Court as soon as possible and thereafter, the Constitution shall be placed before the AIFF General Body for its approval.
“The committee would also be working with the assistance and cooperation of all stakeholders, including Football Sports Development Ltd, State Associations, Sports Authority of India, FIFA, AFC etc., for the benefit of Indian Football.”