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Sports Ministry writes to FIFA, AFC to allow Indian clubs to play in Asia

Published at :August 20, 2022 at 1:21 AM
Modified at :August 20, 2022 at 1:42 AM
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Joseph Biswas

The All Indian Football Federation was banned late on August 15 due to third-party interference.

The Sports Ministry on Friday reached out to the world football governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow Indian clubs Gokulam Kerala and ATK Mohun Bagan to compete in the continental tournaments as scheduled despite the AIFF ban.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was suspended by FIFA late on Monday for undue third-party interference. The suspension put Indian football to a standstill and left the Gokulam Kerala women's team stranded in Uzbekistan ahead of their AFC Women's Club Championship campaign.

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The GKFC women's team are scheduled to begin their campaign on August 23 against Bam Khatoon and then play the host nation club Sogdiana Jizzak on August 26. Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan are also slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 inter-zone semifinals on September 7 in Bahrain.

In an email to both FIFA and AFC, the Sports Ministry requested to allow the Indian clubs to play in the continental competitions. It also informed that when the ban was made official, Gokulam Kerala were already in Uzbekistan.


Therefore, the ministry asked to "consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women’s Club Championship (West region) in the interest of the young players."

In its release, the ministry also said that "it reached out to the Indian embassy in Uzbekistan to extend assistance to the team in all possible ways. The ministry is also in constant touch with the Gokulam team's management."

The AIFF ban also means that India have lost its rights to host the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, which was originally scheduled to take place in the country from October 11 to 30. Apart from that, the Indian national team also won't be able to participate in any international friendlies or any FIFA/AFC recognised competitions.

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