New Delhi: Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports in the country, today welcomed the Delhi High Court`s order which asked the AIFF to conduct its elections under the government`s Sports Code, saying the football body was "blatantly violating" basic poll procedures.
"CSI welcomes the High Court`s judgement on AIFF election. We also commend Rahul Mehra for taking up the issue," CSI national convenor BPV Rao said.
"The AIFF was blatantly violating basic ethics and principles of elections by not declaring the electoral college," he said.
"There must have been an electoral college and only those members from the electoral college should be able to contest and vote.
The nomination date was December 5, but they have sought names from the affiliated state federations much after that. In principle, the electoral college should have been out well in advance. How can they conduct the elections tomorrow?"
Just two days before the All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections where Union minister Praful Patel hopes to be re-elected as president unopposed, the Delhi High Court, acting on an application filed by lawyer-activist Rahul Mehra, had yesterday asked the AIFF to conduct the polls under the government`s Sports Code.
The court also directed the sports ministry to immediately look into all allegations and derecognise AIFF in case it was found to have violated the Sports Code while conducting its elections, scheduled for tomorrow.
Rao alleged that incumbent president Praful Patel was employing unfair means in order to get elected unopposed.
"According to my personal information, Praful Patel collected blank nomination papers signed by probable office-bearers from the state federations. He will now decide who will get elected in which post and most probably all will elected unopposed," he alleged.
"A village panchayat election is held in a better manner than this. We, CSI, seriously condemn such undemocratic tactics in the atmosphere where India has been suspended from the OLympic movement.
"All CSI wants is free and fair, transparent and democratic elections in the National Sports Federations. We want the NSFs to be accountable," Rao said.
Meanwhile, the AIFF maintained that the elections would be held in accordance with the Sports Code.
Earlier, the AIFF executive committee decided that a retired judge of the Delhi High Court would be appointed as returning officer to supervise the elections at the AGM which will be chaired by Patel.
The executive committee also requested the Indian Olympic Association, FIFA and AFC to send observers for the elections.