Tuesday, September 26, 2023

I-League Committee to mull rule on eight foreigners

Himalayan Paths

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) The I-League Committee meeting here on Wednesday will resolve whether to implement the eight foreigners per team rule from this season after five of the nine clubs wrote to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) against it.

After all I-League clubs met here last month, it was decided that the league will have eight foreigners in each team and five foreigners will be part of the starting XI as opposed to four in the existing rule.

But over the last two days, barring East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers who have agreed to the new proposal, all clubs have objected to it.

The likes of Minerva Punjab FC, Chennai City FC, Shillong Lajong, reigning champions Aizawl FC and promoted Neroca FC have said that they have always wanted to help the national team and that is the reason they do not want an increase in the foreign players’ quota, a source close to the development said.

“The issue is on the agenda of the meeting. There will be deliberation on this topic,” an AIFF official told IANS.

The I-League currently allows teams to register and play a maximum of four foreigners, one of whom must be from an Asian country, in keeping with the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) continental competition rules.

The new rule, if enforced, will see two Asian quota players among the eight foreigners.

If sources with the AIFF are to be believed, chances are that the proposal might get overturned as majority of clubs are opposed to it. The only problem is Kolkata bigwigs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan want to match to Indian Super League’s might and thus are supporting the rule.

ISL will have eight foreigners from this season and five in the starting XI, a departure from thei previous six.

The Football Players’ Association of India (FPAI), which is not recognised by the AIFF, also opposed the new I-League proposal, saying it will rob more number of Indian players a chance to play.

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