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Indian football team exempt for Asian Games

Indian football team exempt for Asian Games

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The Indian men’s football team has received a much-awaited exemption to represent the nation in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from the Sports Ministry, which will be commencing September 13.

Initially, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had declined clearance for the Indian football teams’ participation at the Asian Games, due to their rankings not being in the top-8 in Asia. However, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) made a compelling appeal to the Sports Ministry to reconsider, urging them to permit both the men’s and women’s sides to compete at the Asian Games.

National senior team head coach Igor Stimac actively sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the cause. Announced by sports minister Anurag Thakur on a tweet, the exemption was granted. Thakur expressed the government’s decision to relax the rules for both teams, taking into account their latest performances in recent times. The Sports Ministry acknowledged the teams’ potential and recognized their dedication to the sport.

Good news for Indian football lovers!

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…

— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) July 26, 2023


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The national team has displayed commendable progress under Croatian coach Igor Stimac’s guidance. This led them to secure a spot in the sub-100 club in the FIFA rankings. Their victory in the SAFF championship added to their credibility as a strong and competitive unit.

In preparation for the Asian Games, the AIFF has put together and forwarded a list of 50 under 23 players to respective clubs, aiming to build a talent pool for future tournaments such as the AFC under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers and the King’s Cup in Thailand.

The Indian football fraternity, including prominent figures and passionate fans, rallied together in support of the teams’ participation at the Asian Games. Their collective efforts on social media, with trending hashtags and appeals, resonated with the authorities and demonstrated the widespread enthusiasm for the sport.

The decision to allow both the men’s and women’s teams to compete in the Asian Games not only showcases the government’s recognition of their potential but also celebrates the dedication and hard work of the players and coaching staff. Indian football fans can now look forward to witnessing the Blue Tigers and Blue Tigress put their best foot forward at the continental showpiece event, aiming to make the nation proud with their exceptional performances.

The relaxation of criteria by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is a testament to the growing significance of football in India and its potential to make a mark on the international stage. As the teams prepare to compete against formidable opponents in the Asian Games, they carry with them the hopes and aspirations of a nation, united in their support for Indian football’s journey towards excellence.


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