The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided against sending men and women’s football team for the upcoming Asian Games. The 2018 Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia from 18 August to September 02. As per a report in the Indian Express, the decision comes on the basis of Indian football teams ‘standing no chance of cementing for medals’.
“Guidelines are in place and we are strictly following them. The football team hasn’t done well internationally and had no chance of winning medals. So there was no point sending them for the Games. We are evolving as a sporting nation. In many sports, we are competing for gold medals. In such a scenario, we shouldn’t send a team merely to compete,” a senior IOA official was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
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. (With PTI inputs).