If the international football federation (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decide to go ahead and ban the All India Football Federation (AIFF), it could have a devastating effect on the country’s football, bringing to a grinding halt all international activities.
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Charismatic India striker Sunil Chhetri too had said recently that if the ban is imposed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling to oust Praful Patel as AIFF president, it would be catastrophic.
“No matter what is happening on that front, I hope it (crisis) is under control and the country does not get a ban,” the iconic India captain had said, adding, “that will be catastrophic, not just for the whole country but for me, because I’m 37. I’m playing my last games. You never know when there’s a last game for you,” he said.
Apart from the U-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled in October this year, which could be shifted if the ban is imposed, the Men in Blue may also miss the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, for which they qualified in June this year.
To add to that, clubs like ATK Mohun Bagan, who are currently playing in the AFC Cup, the women’s team of Gokulam FC, which has qualified for the AFC women’s club championship, will also be barred from participation.
The January window for the recruitment of foreign players will also be shut for Indian teams, meaning no new overseas recruitments can be made. Qualified referees and match commissioners will also miss out on FIFA-AFC assignments.
FIFA will also stop its grant of USD500,000 to India football.
Though the ban will have no effect on India’s domestic football, the motivation for the I-League clubs will diminish and so also the competitive nature of the sport in the country.
Why will a club spend its money, time and energy when there is no possibility of playing the AFC tournaments?
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