India pleads for Gokulam, Mohun Bagan to be allowed in AFC competitions
India today said it has urged FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow two Indian clubs -- Sree Gokulam Kerala FC and ATK Mohun Bagan -- to compete in the AFC competitions as scheduled.
Earlier this week, FIFA announced suspension of All India Football Federation (AIFF) in a move that raised uncertainty over the hosting of Under-17 Women's World Cup football in the country.
"Keeping in line with its athlete-first approach, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has reached out to both the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow Indian club sides, Sree Gokulam Kerala FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, compete in the tournaments as scheduled," the Indian Sports Ministry said in a statement.
Before the FIFA suspension of AIFF was announced, Sree Gokulam Kerala FC had already reached Uzbekistan, ahead of their scheduled matches against a team from Iran on August 23 and one from the host nation on August 26 in the southern Uzbekistan city of Qarshi, while ATK Mohun Bagan is slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 (Inter-Zone semifinals) on September 7 in Bahrain.
In its email to FIFA and AFC, the Sports Ministry has highlighted the fact that Sree Gokulam Kerala FC were already in Uzbekistan when FIFA's suspension of AIFF was announced.
It has requested FIFA and the AFC to therefore consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women's Club Championship (West region) in the interest of the young players.