FIFA has announced that it has lifted its suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and has given India the greenlight to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup. The world football governing body had earlier banned India citing third-party interferences in the AIFF. The third party was the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was appointed when Praful Patel, the former AIFF chief, had failed to hold elections for AIFF posts in due time. Patel had also continued serving as the AIFF chief even after his term had lapsed.

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The lifting of said ban was anticipated after the Supreme Court gave back control of Indian football operations to the AIFF this week. FIFA has released a statement regarding the lifting of the suspension, where it stated that “The decision was taken after FIFA received confirmation that the mandate of the committee of administrators that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the AIFF administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.” FIFA has also stated that in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), it will support the AIFF in conducting elections “in a timely manner”. Read more on it here:

Sunando Dhar, the AIFF’s acting General Secretary, has released a statement after FIFA’s announcement: “The darkest hour of Indian Football is finally over. The suspension that was slapped on midnight of August 15 on the AIFF, has been lifted by FIFA. We sincerely thank FIFA and AFC, especially the AFC General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John for guiding us in such difficult times.”

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Notably, Bhaichung Bhutia, former captain of the Indian men’s football team, has expressed his desire to become the AIFF President. He has also cited the example of Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI President and former cricket captain of India, in this regard. Bhutia also filed his nomination on August 26, 2022.

The U-17 Women’s World Cup is set to kick off on October 11. India will take on the United States on the very first day of the event. Three more matches are scheduled to take place on the inaugural day.