Monday, July 15, 2024

Indian Football Team Gets Exemption From Ministry, Will Participate In Asian Games

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The Indian men’s football team has got an exemption from the Sports Ministry and will be participating in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, starting September 23. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had earlier refused to clear the Indian football teams for the Asian Games on the ground that they were not ranked in the top-8 in Asia. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) then made an appeal to the Sports Ministry to allow the men’s and women’s sides to take part in the prestigious event with national senior team head coach Igor Stimac also seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.

However, an exemption has been made and sports minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday tweeted that both the men’s and women’s national football teams will be taking part in the continental showpiece event.

“Good news for Indian football lovers! Our national football teams, both Men’s and Women’s, are set to participate in the upcoming Asian Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has decided to relax the rules to facilitate participation of both the teams, which were not qualifying as per the existing criterion. Keeping in mind their latest performances in the recent times, the Ministry decided to grant the relaxation. I am sure they will put their best foot forward in the Asian Games and make our country proud,” Thakur tweeted.

The national team under Croatian coach Igor Stimac has entered sub-100 club in FIFA ranking once again having won SAFF championship where it played against Lebanon and Kuwait.

According to a report in the news agency PTI, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is bullish on sending its first team to the Asian Games, led by its talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri.

The national team under Croatian coach Igor Stimac has entered sub-100 club in FIFA ranking once again having won SAFF championship where it played against Lebanon and Kuwait.

“The current national team has seven U-23 first team players and since three over-age players are allowed, skipper Chhetri, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and defender Sandesh Jhingan are all set to go for the Asian Games if they team gets permission,” a source privy to the development told PTI.

In fact, the AIFF has prepared a list of 50 under 23 players and forwarded it to the respective clubs. The idea, the sources said, is to raise another pool of under 23 players, who could be used for the AFC under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers and the King’s Cup in Thailand.

With PTI inputs

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