Indian Football Team Not to Participate in Asian Games? AIFF General Secretary Says 'Don't Understand Qualification Criteria'
Indian football team celebrate after winning the 2018 Intercontinental Cup (@IndianFootball/Twitter)

New Delhi, July 2: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has said that they have received no official letter from Indian Olympic Association (IOA) about the Indian Football team not participating in the Asian Games. Further, in a shocking revelation, the general secretary said that they came to know about the decision through media and said that he does not really understand the qualification criteria.

"We have got no official letter from Indian Olympic Association about team not participating, we came to know from media. I really don't understand qualification criteria(sic)" said the All India Football Federation on IOA's decision against sending football teams to Asian Games, as quoted by news agency ANI:

"We haven't received any official confirmation. It's just verbal, however, it is really disappointing and I would like to know the reason behind this decision," he added. "If the decision is based on performance 4 years back then it is sad because in last 2 or 3 years India has improved very significantly. It would have been in order if IOA had discussed with us and understood what our strategies are before taking decision" said a disappointed Kushal Das, AIFF(Chairman) speaking to ANI.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) were hoping that the Asian Games 2018 will serve as a platform for men’s team to prepare for next year’s Asian Cup. Meanwhile, it is reported that AIFF is likely to raise the issue with sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Reacting sharply to the IOA’s decision, AIFF has alleged that Narinder Batra-led association "lacks vision and competence”. "It's clear the IOA lacks the vision and competence to understand that football is a global sport played by 212 countries and that the top 5 teams in Asia play in the FIFA World Cup where the level of competition is far superior to the Asian Games," the AIFF said in a statement.

This will be the first time since the 1994 Hiroshima edition that an Indian team will not take part in the football competition of the Asian Games, which is an U-23 event with three over-age players being allowed. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary's statement shows everything that is wrong with the Indian football or more alarmingly, with football administration in India. (With PTI inputs).