Sports Ministry urges FIFA to allow Indian clubs to play AFC tournaments

Image for representation only.© AFP

The Sports Ministry has requested world football governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow Indian clubs – Sri Gokulam Kerala FC and ATK Mohun Bagan – to participate in the tournament despite the ban on AIFF. With FIFA suspending the All India Football Federation (AIFF) late on Monday night, there was chaos as the Gokulam Kerala women’s team arrived in Uzbekistan to participate in their second AFC Women’s Club Championship.

The women’s team is scheduled to compete against a team from Iran on 23 August and a team from the host country in Qarshi on 26 August, while ATK Mohun Bagan is set to play the AFC Cup 2022 (inter-zone semi-final) in Bahrain on 7 September . ,

The ministry wrote an email to FIFA and the AFC, informing them of the fact that Gokulam Kerala was already in Uzbekistan when FIFA’s suspension of the AIFF was announced.

“It has requested FIFA and the AFC to consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women’s Club Championship (West Zone) in the interest of young players,” the ministry said in a release.

The ministry said that it has “reached out to the Indian Embassy in Uzbekistan to extend all possible assistance to the team. The ministry is also in constant touch with the management of the Gokulam team.” Following the news of the ban, Gokulam Kerala women’s team president VC Praveen had called the sports ministry along with the players. The ministry then took up the matter with the AFC, which offered the team an extension of 48 hours to Tashkent.

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FIFA on Monday suspended India for “undue influence from third parties” and said that the Under-17 Women’s World Cup “cannot be held as planned in India at present”.

This is the first time the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year history, with the apex body saying there has been a “serious breach of FIFA law”.

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