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Asian Games participation will give Indian football a big boost: AIFF chief

The Sports Ministry on Wednesday cleared the decks for Indian men's and women's football teams' participation in the continental showpiece by relaxing its selection criteria.

Kalyan Chaubey, Anurag Thakur

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. Photo: @kalyanchaubey

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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Indian football teams' return to the Asian Games for the first time in nine years would provide a big boost to the players' morale, All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Kalyan Chaubey said on Wednesday.
The Sports Ministry on Wednesday cleared the decks for Indian men's and women's football teams' participation in the continental showpiece by relaxing its selection criteria.
Chaubey termed it as an important day for the sport in the country.
"It's indeed an important day for Indian Football and a testament to our resolution to develop the sport in India," an elated Chaubey said, reacting to the development.
The Sunil Chhetri-led Blue Tigers recently won the Inter-Continental Cup and SAFF Championships.
"Indian football has been on an unprecedented rise recently, and I believe this impetus will further boost our players' morale in all upcoming events," Chaubey said.
"It's my honour to represent the AIFF and with moments like this, it further encourages our steadfast commitment to continue developing the ecosystem in the country."

"We thank the Government of India and the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs for their support and for providing special compensation to Indian Football for the 19th Asian Games."

The Sports Ministry in a letter sent to IOA and all the National Sports Federations (NSFs) had earlier said that "for team events, only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia in the last one year should be considered for participation in Asian Games".
The men's team is currently ranked 18th in Asia, while the women's side is placed 11th which were nowhere close to the designated rule of being in top-eight in last one year for participation in the Asian Games.
India men's team head coach Igor Stimac then sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention as the AIFF also appealed the Sports Ministry to relax the norms.
"It's a great day for Indian football and an enormously encouraging decision by the honourable Sports Minister Anurag Thakur ji and our government!" Stimac said.
"Big thanks to all of them for allowing us the opportunity to challenge the best teams in the Asian Games."

AIFF Secretary General, Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said: It is very encouraging for Indian Football that the Government has allowed the participation of men's and women's football teams in the Asian Games.
"This decision of the MYAS has further encouraged all our stakeholders, and with the game time at Asian Games, our players will gain tremendous exposure playing against some of the giants in Asian football.
"We will continue to work hard with a focus to deliver success on and off the pitch and reach our goals as per Strategic Roadmap Vision 2047.
The Indian men's team had secured gold in the inaugural edition in New Delhi 1951, followed by another top finish in Jakarta 1962.
Their last medal at the event was in Bangkok 1970, since then the country are yet to make the podium in the continental showpiece.
The women's team had finished eighth at Bangkok 1998, and ninth at Incheon 2014 in their two appearances.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 27 2023 | 8:49 AM IST

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