New Delhi: Praful Patel, who was today unanimously elected as President of the All India Football Federation President, urged the government to either make the contentious sports code a "law" or "take over" all the sports federations.
Soon after being elected to the top seat for his second term, Patel said it will always be difficult to find answers to the conundrum until and unless the Parliament passes an act.
"Unless the government passes an act, there will always be some grey area. The parliament should pass an act, make it a law. Or else the government should take over all the sports federation," Patel said at the Football House here.
The AIFF conducted its elections against the backdrop of the Delhi High Court`s order to follow the government`s Sports Code while holding the polls.
"We followed the constitution of AIFF. We kept in mind the spirit of the sports code. We are in tune with sports code`s age and number of terms (criterion).
The union minister said it will be difficult to follow the sports code entirely unless the AIFF`s constitution is amended.
"We have not been violative of the code. We did not get any direct order from the court. At the end of the day the government`s some sports have norms which may overlap and maybe they could be at conflict with the international (sports) federations."
The sports ministry had recently de-recognised the Archery Association of India (AAI) and suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) for not following the National Sports Code in their elections.
Asked if the election has the approval of FIFA, Patel said, "Fifa does not have any issue with the AIFF constitution."
Senior vice-president Subrata Dutta, who was also appointed for his second term, said the national football body`s constitution is in line with FIFA.
"Our constitution is in line with FIFA. It is registered under the society registration act. There has to be 1 proposer 4 seconder (5 proposer)," Dutta said.
Asked about the Delhi HC`s order, he said, "Our legal counsel is looking into this matter.
Barely two days before the elections, the HC, acting on an application filed by lawyer-activist Rahul Mehra, asked the AIFF to conduct the polls under the government`s sports code.
Besides rendering a person older than 70 years ineligible to contest the poll for a sports body office, the sports code also stipulates that no person elected to any office consecutively for three terms with each term being of four years would be eligible to contest the poll.
And about FIFA`s reaction, Dutta said, "Fifa only intervenes if there is interferences from the government in AIFF`s election process.
The AGM and the Elections were held in the presence of Radhica Sreeman, observer on behalf of the Government of India (also the Regional Director, SAI); P C Makholia on behalf of the Sports Authority of India; Mun Si Song, representative Asian Football Confederation and Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Developmental Officer, South and Central Asia. FIFA Consultant Monika Staab was also present on the occasion.
Justice S K Agarwal, a Retired Judge of the Delhi High Court was the Returning Officer.
"The Election have been held in consonance with the Sports Code guidelines and the AIFF Constitution at the same time. All nominated persons for the post of Office-bearers and Executive Committee members were elected unanimously," Agarwal said.
While Dempo Sports Club`s owner Srinivas Dempo was elected vice-president from the west zone, Congress MLA and DSA president Subhash Chopra is the representative from the north zone -- the first in the history of Delhi football.
Shillong Lajong club owner Larsing Ming Sawyn replaced Ankur Dutta from the north-east. Kerala`s K M I Mather was elevated to the post of vice-president from south.
General secretary Kushal Das said the AIFF is hopeful of India getting the 2017 U-17 World Cup, even though FIFA did not discuss the country`s bid in its last executive committee meeting on December 14.
"The Government has given us that letter of support, and Fifa needs some clarifications on that. We are expecting a letter from fifa soon.
"They have some question on the government letter of support. Fifa wants it in a certain manner, in the form of guarantees," Das said.
Asked for his take on the election, Das said, "Under AIFF constitution if someone has been a general secretary or president of AIFF for four years in the past 12 years he is entitled to be elected. There are certain small technical issues.
Das said India will play a friendly against Palestine on February 6 next year at Guwahati, with the next one scheduled to be held some time in September.
On the Mohun Bagan issue, the federation said a conclusion could be arrived at only after the hearing on December 24.
List of elected members: Praful Patel (Re-elected as President), Shrinivas Dempo (Vice-President, West), K M I Mather (Vice-President, South), Subrata Dutta (Vice-President, East), Subhash Chopra (Vice-President, North), Larsing Sawyan (Vice-President, North-East), Hardev Jadeja (Re-elected as Treasurer), Amit Ranjan Dev (Re-elected as Executive Committee Member, West), Franco Miranda (Executive Committee Member, West), A R Khaleel (Executive Committee Member, South), Menla Ethenpa (Executive Committee Member, East), Ghulam Rabbani (Executive Committee Member, East), Sunil Bharadwaj (Re-elected as Executive Committee Member, North), Md. Shamsuddin (Executive Committee Member, North), Ankur Datta (Executive Committee Member, North-East), Ranjit Roy (Re-elected as Executive Committee Member, North-East).