The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the court-appointed Committee of Administrator (CoA) and Centre to hold talks and engage with FIFA to ensure the U-17 Women's World Football Cup is held in the country.
A bench headed by justice DY Chandrachud agreed to consider the case for hearing on Thursday, after it was informed that FIFA threatened to withdraw the hosting rights.
Mentioning the matter before the top court, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said this is the All India Football Federation Counsel (AIFF) matter and unfortunately, there has been some disturbing development. He added that some entities are interfering with the top court's order to conduct elections and "we have preferred contempt on behalf of CoA".
The bench asked the counsel to hold the contempt petition for a while, and if any application comes it will be tagged.
The Centre's counsel submitted that FIFA said that they will withdraw hosting rights and the FIFA's letter is striking at the very root of the interim order and pointed at an application filed by the government.
The bench told the Centre's counsel that he and his clients would have to engage with FIFA, to ensure that whatever is required is done and the tournament is held. After a brief hearing, the top court agreed to list the matter for hearing on Thursday, and added that the way forward is through dialogue.
The CoA has moved the top court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against former AIFF president Praful Patel and state associations accusing them of indirectly stalling the court-ordered elections for governing body members.
The plea filed by CoA said after the apex court on August 3 had recorded the consensus among the various parties to first conduct the elections to the AIFF in a time-bound fashion and then to finalise the constitution, the state associations have attempted to resile from the same, but indirectly.
"The evidence enclosed with this Contempt Petition would show that Praful Patel who had been removed as President of the AIFF has consistently abused his position as Council Member of FIFA to orchestrate a campaign among the State Associations to undermine the various steps taken by this Hon'ble Court for the betterment of football, including having footballers involved in governance and administration," added the plea.
On August 3, the Supreme Court directed that the interim executive committee for All India Football Federation (AIFF) would be elected not only by 36 state football federations, but also by 36 eminent former football players -- 24 male and 12 female players who played international matches for the country.
A bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala directed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to conduct AIFF elections expeditiously as per the timeline laid down by the CoA and in consonance with the football federation's draft constitution.
The top court clarified that the elected committee would be an interim body, which would continue for a period of three months subject to further orders. The top court asked CoA to hold the election expeditiously to ensure that the Under-17 Women's World cup is managed by an elected body.
The U-17 Women's World Cup Tournament will commence on October 11, 2022 and India will host it. The top court decided to expedite the election as FIFA requires a democratically-elected body of AIFF to oversee the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
The bench declined to entertain the state football federations' plea that they should only have voting rights, instead it pointed out that even the National Sports Code says that players should be represented in sports federations.