Srinagar: In a major news for the football fans of the Country, Sports Ministry on Wednesday allowed Indian mens and womens football teams to participate in 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had made an appeal to the Sports Ministry to allow the men’s and women’s team, ranked 18th and 11th, to participate in the Asian Games on the back of their impressive showing in recent months. They were earlier denied permission for ranking outside top eight teams in Asia.
“Our national football teams, both Men’s and Women’s, are set to participate in the upcoming Asian Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has decided to relax the rules to facilitate participation of both the teams, which were not qualifying as per the existing criterion,” Sports Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey said, “It’s indeed an important day for Indian Football and a testament to our resolution to develop the sport in India. 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”.
“Indian Football has been on an unprecedented rise recently, and I believe this impetus will further boost our players’ morale in all upcoming events. It’s my honour to represent the All India Football Federation and with moments like this, it further encourages our steadfast commitment to continue developing the ecosystem in the country.”
The Indian team will now play in the Asian Games for the first time since 2014 after the same criteria had ruled it out of the 2018 Games in Jakarta.
Football in the Asian Games is a U-23 tournament with three players above that age are also permitted in a team.