At 17, it’s a difficult call to make as clubs and the AIFF go head-to-head to tie down the future of Indian football. 

The India U-17 Football team proved a lot of detractors wrong with some eye-catching performances during the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. Khel Now reported that 12 players are close to signing deals with the AIFF for their upcoming I-league team, while some are not ENTIRELY happy with the contracts on the table.

Media reports suggest that players are being given an offer of 6 lakhs-a-year from the AIFF, while ISL clubs are happy to break the bank to sign the future of Indian football. According to sources close to the developments, defender Mohammad Rakip, who was not selected by national team manager Luis Norton De Matos, has received an offer from Kerala Blasters that is three times that of the AIFF – close to 1.5 lakh a month.

According to sources close to the club, the club from Kochi also wants to sign Indian No. 1 and fan favourite Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, having offered him a sum of 18 lakh on a yearly basis. Players have also raised concerns about a clause put forward by the AIFF in the offered contract that reads, “The AIFF shall have the exclusive right to negotiate on behalf of the trainee for a period of five years.”

Dheeraj, with these stats, has impressed one and all with his composure and decision making under the bar

It has also irked the players that they can’t sign a pre-contractual agreement with any intermediary (agent) or any club (the ISL or I-league) without prior permission from AIFF General Secretary, even after they turn professional, for the duration of five years of the contract offered by the AIFF.


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The AIFF have also offered the players a hike of ’10 percent every year’ on the contract, but that depends on the discretion of the Federation. It must be understood that no national federation across the world owns its national players and it is the clubs/agents that hold rights to a player after they turn professional.  

What works in favour of the players is that the franchises have offered a clause in the contract that states they’ll continue to pay them for the rest of their contracts even if the players choose to travel to Europe or join a youth team outside the country, not hindering their chances to go beyond borders.

Khel Now has, time and again, dwelled and shouted from rooftops that Indian players need to go beyond borders to realize their full potential, following the examples of long-standing captain and talisman Sunil Chhetri and former Stabaek Fotbal custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

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Understandably, Dheeraj Singh is not the only player who’s browsing through his offers. Powerful midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam, India’s first goalscorer at any FIFA World Cup Jeakson Singh, Indian captain Amarjit Singh, the ‘Indian Coutinho’ Komal Thatal and instrumental performer Rahul KP are also in demand, the captain being offered 15-lakhs by the Blasters.

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Capital club Delhi Dynamos and second season winners Chennaiyin FC are also trying to match the offers of the Blasters. Dynamos have adopted a new approach of giving chances to youngsters under Portuguese manager Miguel Angel Portugal while Chennaiyin FC have also been a proud youth advertiser, having given opportunities to Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa and Baoringdao Bodo.

“Not just the agents, unfortunately even some of the former India players are involved in it. To add to this, the agents are also misleading the boys and their parents. We are trying hard to keep the boys together and build a strong team for the future. But, we are not going to beg the players. They will be allowed to go if they want to,” an AIFF source, close to the developments, said in a media report late last week.  

The players are on leave as of now after a mentally and physically exhausting tournament that saw them concede 9 goals in three encounters with valiant fights against the USA and Colombia. The players will return to the capital just before Diwali and will fly off to either Saudi Arabia or Goa. This team is set to play the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers in the Middle East country and could go to Goa to join the U-19 team that is currently training there.