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Quraishi's new role with AIFF 'little restricted'

Praful Patel (right) with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Praful Patel (right) with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Former Chief Election commissioner SY Quraishi has a new mandate following the Supreme Court's order on Friday that stayed the Delhi High Court order on Praful Patel's election as the All India Football Federation president (AIFF). Quraishi will no longer be the administrator for the AIFF, as per the High court order, and his role will now be to draft AIFF's constitution and not to conduct fresh elections. And though it is "a little restricted," Quraishi says he welcomes it.

"My new role is a little restricted which is just as well," he told ESPN. "The election will not be held as of now. The body will function but I along with Mr. (Bhaskar) Ganguly will be ombudsmen and our immediate task is different than what was given by the high court. It is to draft the constitution in conformity with the sports code."

The Delhi High Court's order, earlier this month, which was challenged by the AIFF in the Supreme Court, had set aside Patel's election as AIFF president for a third successive tenure, saying the election was in violation of the National Sports Code. The High Court had then appointed former Chief Election Commissioner Quraishi as an administrator to look into the functioning of the AIFF. He was expected to conduct elections in the AIFF that would draft a new constitution that would be in order with the National Sports Code and then conduct fresh elections under the revised constitution within a period of five months.

After the latest Supreme Court order, Quraishi and former India football captain Bhaskar Ganguly only have to formulate the AIFF constitution, which has to be done within the next eight weeks.

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"The two of us (Quraishi and Ganguly) will look at the existing constitution. The federation has been saying they adopted some of the things of the sports code. So we will see how much is the 'some'. It has to be totally in conformity. The entire federation is expected to help us. They will show us what it is they have adopted. They will have to show what is missing so those gaps are bridged and the revised constitution is drafted. We will give our draft proposal in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court within two months," he says.

Quraishi says the fact he will not have to look after the functioning of the AIFF - as envisaged by the High Court -- would allow him to focus on the task at hand. This also means Praful Patel and the other elected committee members will continue their roles in the AIFF.

"The Federation officials will continue to function. This is also very good because nothing will come to a stop. My prime concern had been simply to conduct so many tournaments, and selections for the national team. I didn't want to get bogged down with the day to day functioning. If I was a single man federation, that would have been the case," he says. "Now every person will do their job."

While Quraishi's immediate mandate is to draft a constitution, he isn't sure what his responsibility will be once he and Ganguly hand over the revised document to the Supreme Court in two months. "My mandate is not to conduct elections. But that is the matter for the time being. It isn't that the matter (the case) is over. They have only stayed the order. The final hearing on merit is yet to be done which will be done in due course," he says.

The immediate consequence of the Supreme court's decision for Quraishi is that he will have to start work earlier than expected. "Under the HC order I was supposed to start working in 15 days from the order which meant the 16th. But since that order has been stayed, I am under the SC order. Which means I can join tomorrow if I like," he said.


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