FIFA has, for a second time, ordered the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) to suspend its elections scheduled for 20 April. The directive from the world football governing body comes after the passing of the deadline for filing nominations for the elections.

FIFA and AFC had earlier blocked elections set for 30 January with FIFA ordering FAM to elect an electoral committee and appeal committee in accordance with association bylaws.

FAM then held a special congress to elect the two committees, however, the validity of the congress has been cast into question with a majority of football clubs not participating in the process.

FAM’s Interim General Secretary Mohamed Jaushan Shareef informed the FAM media group that the election was postponed at the request of FIFA and AFC due to the ongoing issues surrounding FAM. The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) of Maldives had, in January, charged Bassam Adeel Jaleel, the President of FAM, with embezzlement and money laundering following an investigation into the misappropriation of US$10,000 from funds provided to FAM by FIFA and the AFC.

Current FAM President Jaleel and his predecessor, former national team striker and current Member of Parliament for Mahibadhoo, Ahmed ‘Tom’ Thariq, were the only candidates who had filed nominations for the presidency when the deadline for nominations expired.

One of Thariq’s endorsements came from Club Valencia, who have since been suspended by the FAM — candidates running for FAM president are required to forward three endorsements from separate first division clubs. As such, Thariq’s candidacy would technically be invalidated by the FAM Electoral Committee as the three clubs who endorsed him include Valencia, along with Maziya and TC.

While Thariq has refrained from publicly commenting on the issue, five clubs have endorsed Jaleel and FIFA and the AFC have, once again, intervened in the FAM election after Thariq filed complaints with the world and regional football governing bodies.

FAM announced the election while keeping Valencia’s suspension in place; a move that come after a former member of the club’s executive committee filed a complaint with FAM alleging their removal from the team’s executive committee was via an invalid election.

The FAM then decided that Valencia would be suspended from footballing activities until a valid executive committee was elected at the club, however, Valencia alleges that the move was taken because they had endorsed Thariq.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Sports Mohamed Tholal has endorsed Valencia’s executive committee as valid, seemingly injecting some hope toward’s the validity of Thariq’s candidacy.