'Unfortunate, very harsh', say Indian footballers after FIFA suspends AIFF

Unfortunate, very harsh

New Delhi, Aug 16 : The world governing body of football, FIFA has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with "immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties", jeopardising the country's staging of the U-17 Women's World Cup in October. FIFA's ban means that the Indian National Football Team will not be able to play any international games until the ban is removed. The Indian teams, men's and women's, cannot play any junior or senior international games during the ban. And the Indian clubs cannot participate in AFC Women Club Championship, AFC Cup and AFC Champions League competitions. Indian footballers have reacted to the ban of AIFF, saying that it's unfortunate that FIFA has taken this step when all the preparation for the Under-17 World Cup has been completed. Former captain and one of the most prolific footballers of the country Bhaichung Bhutia termed the FIFA decision very harsh, "Very unfortunate that FIFA has banned Indian football and at the same time I feel it's a very harsh decision of FIFA to ban Indian football." "It's very important that all the stakeholders come together and get the system right and everybody works for the betterment of Indian football," he added. India's leading goal-scorer and national team captain Sunil Chettri said, "People who are involved are doing their best to make sure that we are going to come out with the best results possible. Everyone is working hard towards it. As far as players are concerned we are going to make sure that we do our work properly." Former AIFF secretary Kushal Das, however, is hopeful that authorities will come up with a better solution to this problem. "FIFA does not like third party interference in the matter. Authorities should come out with a better solution to this problem. I hope Indian football won't suffer with this," he said. The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect. This has been due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes. /IANS


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