New Delhi [India], August 19 (ANI): In keeping with its athlete-first approach, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has reached out to both the Federation internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow Indian club sides, Sree Gokulam Kerala FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, compete in the tournaments as scheduled.
Before the FIFA suspension of All India Football Federation (AIFF) was announced, Sree Gokulam Kerala FC had already reached Uzbekistan, ahead of its scheduled matches against a team from Iran on August 23 and one from the host nation on August 26 in the southern Uzbekistan city of Qarshi, while ATK Mohun Bagan is slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 (Inter-Zone semifinals) on September 7 in Bahrain.
In its email to FIFA and AFC, the Sports Ministry has highlighted the fact that Sree Gokulam Kerala FC was already in Uzbekistan when FIFA's suspension of AIFF was announced. It has requested FIFA and AFC to therefore consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women's Club Championship (West region) in the interest of the young players.
Meanwhile, the ministry has also reached out to the Indian embassy in Uzbekistan to extend assistance to the team in all possible ways. The ministry is also in constant touch with the Gokulam team's management.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing till August 22 on a plea relating to suspension by the international football governing body FIFA of the All India Football Federation based on a request by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the central government.
Solicitor Mehta told the apex court that considering several factors about what can be done, the Centre on Tuesday had taken up the matter with FIFA and Committee of Administrators (CoA) also played a key role and there is some breaking of the ice which has taken place.
Supreme Court asked the Centre to take proactive measures to ensure the holding of the Under 17 World Cup and lifting the suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Late Monday night, the world football governing body FIFA announced that it had suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) "with immediate effect".
FIFA cited "undue interference by third party", referring to a Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to handle the daily affairs of the AIFF, as the cause for suspending India.
The suspension means no Indian team, club or country, can play international matches.
"The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes," FIFA said in a statement.
This is the first time the All India Football Federation has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year existence, with the Bureau of the FIFA Council stating there have been "flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes".
Crucially, India will lose hosting rights of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, scheduled to kick off on October 11, 2022. (ANI)