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SC may appoint footballer as ombudsman to reform AIFF constitution

The Supreme Court on Friday said it could appoint an eminent footballer as an ombudsman alongside former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi to implement reforms in the constitution of All India Football Federation (AIFF). In response to a plea challenging the Delhi High Court verdict setting aside Praful Patel's election as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president, a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it would pass an order on the matter asking AIFF to frame an amended constitution incorporating the suggestions of the Delhi HC.

"We can appoint an eminent footballer as ombudsman along with the former Chief Election Commissioner," the bench said.

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The bench also asked lawyer Rahul Mehra, who had filed the original plea in the High Court, to give suggestions so that the status of Indian football gets a boost. Mehra said the lack of infrastructure at grassroot level and interest shown by the sports authorities to popularise the sport, had pushed India to 105th position in the world.

Delhi HC had also appointed former CEC Quraishi as the administrator-cum-returning officer to conduct fresh polls to the sport body on October 31. The AIFF had sought interim stay on the HC verdict and then approached the Supreme Court for urgent hearing saying that the bid for hosting the FIFA Under-20 World Cup was coming up and the last date for its submission was November 14.

Patel, former minister of civil aviation and heavy industries, was elected for a four-year term in December last year along with the Executive Committee for 2017-2020, after the high court had, as an interim measure, vacated the stay on the polls on the ground that the result would be subject to the final outcome of the issue pending before it.


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