TODAY -

FIFA ban will hit Manipuri players the hardest
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: August 18, 2022 -



THE under-17 Women's World Cup, which India was given the hosting right is over two months away and there is still the possibility that the country may play host to the women's age-group showpiece event if stakeholders concern abide by the FIFA directive that there should be no third party intervention in the daily affairs of All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body of football in the country.

Nevertheless, the ban imposed by FIFA on India and stripping of its hosting rights for the upcoming women's World Cup underscored the huge differences between the country's administrative system and the objective of world's football body.

The current mess within the AIFF is that its president Praful Patel had been clinging on to the post in-spite of his tenure got lapsed in 2020 and undermining the standard protocol of conducting the elections as per the schedule.

Cursorily, politics seems to be at play behind former aviation minister Praful Patel's unwillingness to relinquish the top job, for conducting the elections and suffering defeat, if any, would be a huge blot on his political career.

Thus, it is obvious that other than keeping his challengers at bay at any cost there is no other foreseeable reason for the AIFF president to remain in the office without processing for the mandatory elections to appoint new office bearers.

Amid such undesired impasse within the AIFF setup, the Supreme Court intervened and ousted Praful Patel recently as its earlier decree issued some three months back went unheeded and formed an interim body.

However, the court's decision, taken in good faith, backfired; for FIFA too has its own set of rules that every football governing body should administer and act independently.

In Manipur's context, the FIFA ban on India would be highly demoralising for the hundreds of talented players plying their trade with top football clubs of the country and equally depressing for many more eager to have lucrative contracts with clubs playing in the prestigious Indian Soccer League or Indian League football competitions, which can bring immense financial footfall and provide a way to come out of poverty, which is synonymous with Manipuri sportspersons.

For many young footballers donning different colours of their respective clubs at the national level competitions is also an opportunity to step on to the global level if one could draw the attraction of recruiters of major European clubs.

As such, footballers of Manipur who have an eye on showcasing their talent at the global stage would be feeling strongly dejected by the FIFA's ban as a consequence of the murky affairs in the AIFF.

To these youngsters, the state getting the hosting rights for group matches of 131st edition of the Durand Cup wouldn't matter much as extension of the FIFA restriction would mean serious damage to their career option.

Accepted that when it comes to international standard of football India is nowhere in the picture with exception of regularly figuring at the bottom of the ranking chart but it's an undeniable fact that football has changed the fortune for hundreds of Manipuri players even by playing at national club level competitions.



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