Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games

Asian Games: Kalyan Chaubey to request FSDL to defer ISL by 10 days

Analoy MajumderAnaloy Majumder

September 7 2023
Kalyan Chaubey Hangzhou Asian Games request FSDL ISL postponement

Kalyan Chaubey also mentioned that no club is bigger than the nation.

As per a report from The Times of India, AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey is all set to speak to FSDL and request a postponement of the Indian Super League. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has chosen a men’s team of 22 players to represent the country at the Asian Games, which is largely a tournament for players under the age of 23, with allowance of participation of three senior players.

Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian national football team, has decided to send Sunil Chhetri, Liston Colaco (previously Gurpreet Singh Sandhu), and Sandesh Jhingan to compete in the Asiad. The team that will compete in the Asian Games is composed of players from a total of ten different clubs: six from Bengaluru FC, three from Mumbai City FC, two each from FC Goa, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Odisha FC, and Kerala Blasters, and one player each from Punjab FC, Chennaiyin FC, and Hyderabad FC.

The 10 ISL clubs have steadfastly refused to release any of their players to participate in the continental multisport tournament since it would take place outside of the FIFA international match window. The matches for the Asian Games will begin on September 19, whereas the inaugural season of the ISL starts just two days later that is on September 21.

In response to the clubs’ obstruction, AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey has made the decision to persuade Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), to postpone the Indian Super League by at least 10 days so that players can take part in the Asian Games.

As per Kalyan Chaubey’s exclusive chat with TOI on Wednesday he informed that he will request all 10 club owners and the FSDL to postpone the league in ‘national interest’. “I’ll be speaking to people in the FSDL to defer the league by 10 days and start it sometime in October so that we can field a full-strength team at the Asiad. The honour of representing the country on the global stage is above all. The national interest should come first and that’s what I would try to explain to clubs and FSDL,” he said to TOI.

Chaubey further added, “It’s win-win situation for everyone (if the ISL is postponed by 10 days) and cooperation from everyone is required. The clubs can start the league with their full squads without having to miss out on their services. So, instead of September 21 start, get the league underway, possibly after 10 days. This explanation by clubs that the Asian Games falls outside the FIFA international match window can’t form the basis to deny our players a chance to represent the nation on the global stage.”

He also said to TOI that, “One must understand that India comes first. I’ll speak to the club owners in my personal capacity as an AIFF president to release the players in national interest. The AIFF understands why clubs are reluctant to release their players. The federation doesn’t want a situation where the franchises have to compete in the league with ‘incomplete squads’. But no club is bigger than the nation. That’s the bottomline. So, deferring the league is the only logical option available to them and it’s a request from the AIFF president. If need be, I’ll formally write to FSDL in this regard.”

After nine years, the sports ministry made a special exception and permitted both the men’s and women’s football teams to compete in Asian Games. On September 19, India will play the hosts, China, before facing Bangladesh on September 21 and Myanmar on September 24.

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