Last week, the Indian Sports Ministry denied the Indian football team the opportunity to participate in the Asian Games due to not meeting the ministry’s criteria of being ranked among the top-8 teams in the continent. In response, the Indian football coach, Igor Stimac, expressed his emotions and penned a heartfelt note appealing to the Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting their permission for the team to take part in the Asian Games.
A humble appeal and sincere request to Honorable Prime Minister Sri @narendramodi ji and Hon. sports minister @ianuragthakurto kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian games__
We will fight for our nation’s pride and the flag! ,
Jai Hind!#IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/wxGMY4o5TN— Igor Stimac (@stimac_igor) July 17, 2023
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Stimac tweeted, “A humble appeal and sincere request to Honorable Prime Minister Sri @narendramodi ji and Hon. Sports Minister @ianuragthakur, to kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian Games. We will fight for our nation’s pride and the flag! Jai Hindu!” The tweet also included a note from Stimac.
In a letter addressed to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all the National Sports Federations (NSFs), the Sports Ministry stated 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 All India Football Federation (AIFF) has expressed its intention to appeal to the sports ministry, urging them to reconsider the decision. “This is a decision made by the government. So, we have to adhere to it. However, we will appeal to the government to reconsider the decision regarding football,” said AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran.
“The Indian team’s performance this year has been extremely encouraging. It will be a significant boost for football, especially for the U-23 boys, if they are given the opportunity to play in the Asian Games.” Previously, the IOA had declined to clear the Indian football team for the 2018 Asian Games on the same grounds of not being ranked within the top-8 in Asia. However, there is a provision in the Sports Ministry’s instructions to the IOA and NSFs that offers a ray of hope for the AIFF, led by Kalyan Chaubey.
“Where, in the opinion of the experts of specific sports disciplines, and that of Sports Authority of India, participation of individuals and teams in relaxation of the above criteria is recommended with justifiable reasons, the same will be considered in the Ministry for appropriate decision.” “stated the ministry letter. The Indian football team has recently won the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Cup Championship, showcasing their impressive performances.