The Indian Football team has been considered incompetent to participate in the upcoming Asian Games to be held in August 2018 in Jakarta. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided not to send either the Men’s or the Women’s Football team for the Asiad. This will be the first time since 1994 that an Indian team will not take part in the Football competition of the Asian Games, which is a U-23 event with three over-age players being allowed.
The Indian Men’s team is currently ranked 14 in Asia. As per IOA regulations, only those national teams which are ranked between 1to 8 are cleared for the Games. Moreover, in 2014 Asian Games, the Men’s team finished at the 26th out of 29 teams whereas the women were 9th out of 11, conceding 20 goals in their last two group matches. Based on this result, the IOA has axed the football teams from the 524-strong Asian Games contingent.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) claimed that the recent performance of Indian senior team in international arena has shown immense progress. It was the right time for a proper exposure of the players in international scenario. “In fact, the premier football competition in Asia is the AFC Asian Cup where India has qualified after eight years. AIFF said, “IOA’s stance and myopic view comes in sharp contrast to the support of both the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Sports Authority of India, both of whom who have been hugely supportive of Indian Football and recognised AIFF’s efforts in the last three years.”
According to the statement, President of the AIFF, Praful Patel approached Narinder Batra to make a case for the Indian Football team but IO has not bothered to change their rule. Thus, AIFF is considering to send the national team to the Asian Games on its own cost.