Bhaichung Bhutia on AIFF ban: 'A great opportunity to get our systems right'

The Football House, headquarters of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in New Delhi Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group via Getty Images

Bhaichung Bhutia, the former India captain, has called the FIFA's decision to ban Indian football "very harsh" but in it also saw an opportunity to get the country's sport in order. He was among the first to react to the decision, which was made public late on Monday night.

The AIFF ran into trouble after former president Praful Patel stayed in office beyond his term, with the Supreme Court ruling it invalid and removing him from the post. The court then placed the AIFF under a Committee of Administrators (CoA), which went against FIFA's rules.

Here's how Indian football circles reacted to the news of the ban:

Bhaichung: "Very unfortunate that FIFA has banned Indian football...I feel it's a very harsh decision of FIFA to ban Indian football. But at the same time I feel it's a great opportunity for us to get our system right. It's very important that all the stakeholders - the federation, the state associations - to come together and get the system right and everybody work for the betterment of Indian football.

Shabbir Ali (player, coach): Whatever has happened is extremely unfortunate and a setback for Indian football. That said, I am hopeful that the suspension will be lifted sooner than later once the elections are held, which FIFA has categorically mentioned as well. The U-17 Women's World Cup should be held in India and I am optimistic that things will fall in place and India won't be robbed of the showpiece event.

Mehtab Hossain (former player): Both the former officials and the CoA should be blamed squarely for this fiasco. When FIFA instructed the officials to conduct an election as soon as possible and put the house in order, what were we waiting for? We took our own sweet time and now we have to pay the ultimate price. Neither the former bosses nor anyone from the CoA will suffer now. It's the players, fans who will be dealt with a severe blow. It's a huge blow for Indian football.