Indian Football – East Bengal handed transfer ban

Indian Football - East Bengal handed transfer ban

On Saturday, the All India Football Federation(AIFF) announced that they will be handing a transfer ban for Kolkata giants East Bengal for illegally approaching and signing Minerva Punjab star defender Sukhdev Singh. At the beginning of the transfer window, both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal claimed to have signed the defender. This led to the director of Minerva Punjab to lodge a complaint to All India Football Federation stating that East Bengal had illegally tapped up the Minerva Punjab player. The All India Football Federation then referred this case to its players status Committee which met earlier this month and discussed the case. The committee decided that they will be held responsible for tapping up.

Sukhdev’s contract at Minerva Punjab lasted for the entirety of the 2018-19 season and had more than six months left on his contract. According to the FIFA rules, if a club wants to make an approach for a player of another club who has more than six months on his contract, they will have to contact the club that the player is currently playing for before making an approach directly to the player, like in this case where East Bengal directly approached the player without talking to Minerva Punjab before they did.

Numerous sources say that East Bengal did not take the right procedures but Mohun Bagan did in an attempt to sign the defender. Mohun Bagan first approached Minerva Punjab and held talks to sign him but the deal supposedly failed to take shape before East Bengal announced his signature. East Bengal claim that they were ignorant of the player’s current contract and that they were misled by the player’s agent. Given the fact that all clubs have access to a centralized system where they are able to check the contract status of any player, the board decided that East Bengal’s claim didn’t hold water and were hence handed the transfer ban.

Indian Football – Forever In The Shadows

Indian Football

It was confirmed a few days back that the Indian Olympic Association has decided to leave both the Men’s and the Woman’s football team out of the upcoming Asian games and have continuously defended their stance as the fans expressed their disappointment. Let’s take a look at why the future of this sport in our country is in absolute shambles.

Ever heard of sambo, pencak silat, kurash and sepak takraw?

These are among the sports, teams of which have been selected by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), to represent the country at the Asian Games that kick off on August 18 in Indonesia. And then there is football, a sport that has in recent times shown great promise in our country which the IOA has casually decided to leave out of the Asian Games.

Why? Simply because they say “We don’t believe that they stand a chance to win medals” And this decision comes as a major setback for the AIFF who saw this tournament as a perfect platform in preparation for the 2019 Asia cup.

If the IOA claim that there is no progress being made then it is safe to say that they have either lost their mind or have no clue whatsoever about various sport in the country. However, progress is indeed being made, even if the IOA doesn’t care to acknowledge it.

Back in 2014, the men’s team was ranked 165 in the world. They are now at 97. They have climbed 68 spots in four years flat.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) made attempts to draw home this point to the IOA. But for some strange reason, the IOA failed to see the point at all. This, when football has been classified as a priority sport by the sports ministry.

The reasons listed by the IOA that have denied the football teams participating in the tournament, in reality only holds a mirror up to the association. If dismal performance is the only criteria for players to participate at such a prestigious tournament, then the IOA itself should have shut shop long ago, its offices should have been locked up and the keys thrown in a deep sea.

It is an organization that is so marred with corruption that it had to be suspended twice – once by the International Olympic committee for 14 months on corruption charges and second by the sports ministry of India for openly endorsing corruption and the corrupt. The same IOA that is so concerned about the nation being embarrassed by our football team, which has worked so hard over the past few years to improve their level, have come under the scanner several times for sending in large contingents on junkets.

The AIFF has claimed that while it sent two presentations to the IOA explaining why football needed to be treated differently and how the consistent progress being made could not be dismissed, the IOA did not bother to respond to the pitch made through the presentations.

If winning was the only criteria that mattered, the Afghanistan cricket team wouldn’t have been so proud of what they achieved in recent years. South Korea wouldn’t have had a chance to knock Germany out of the World Cup and Iran wouldn’t have made the entirety of the Asian continent proud of what they showcased at the FIFA World cup.

But at the end of the day, the sad truth is that we live in a nation where everyone rushes to reward the achievers while nobody stands up for those struggling to make a mark in the absence of both basic infrastructure and acknowledgment. A country where the sports minister who by the way was himself a sportsman, has time to take part in fitness challenges on twitter but has no time to spare when a sport is hopelessly left in the shadows. A country that has failed to respect the sporting spirit and shown the world how unfit their sporting priorities are.

ISL – A step towards the right direction

ISL

The Indian Super League tournament began with a great start. Launched by IMG Reliance—a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd and IMG, a global sports, fashion and media business—and Rupert Murdoch’s Star India Pvt. Ltd in partnership with the All India Football Federation, it has obtained the support of some big shots ranging from sports stars and celebrities and popular cricket players.

The owners of the team of ISL announced that the tournament could lead to a start of a revolution within Indian Football. India has a history of domestic club football, supported by passionate fan clubs, especially in places like West Bengal, Goa, Punjab, and Kerala. There have also been some pretty good performances by the team in the 1950s and 1960s at an international level.

But India’s ranking has been pretty bad lately. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ranks India 145th among 207 soccer-playing nations. A feat that is pretty embarrassing for a country that loves football. So in order to rectify this, the ISL is the latest attempt to revolutionize the sport in India.

The ISL is taken after the IPL, a two-month long tournament. IPL is a franchise owned by Bollywood celebrities, adding to its popularity and managing to attract cricketers from around the world. The problem with ISL is the timing. The star backing will find it difficult to attract players from around the world due to the tournament happening in September to November. That’s when the world’s top leagues are seen in action.

The league also needs to make sure that the quality of Indian football, primarily that of youth football is popularized in the country. Something that the I-League has failed to do. It will be a challenge due to the duration of the tournament, but hopefully, they manage to pull it off. ISL must also that the sport is treated on a professional level and the players like Sunil Chhetri and other talented ones are given the best of treatment. The team must be able to earn a pretty good living from the game.

The ISL is definitely a step towards a revolution in football, albeit being a small one. The Indian football team still has a long way to go before they are able to play with the top leagues. Now it is up to the AIFF, the Sports Ministry, the Media, and even us football aficionados, to make sure we bring about the much-needed revolution in Indian Football.