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AIFF Hoping Clubs Would Release Any 22 Players From List For Asian Games

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is hoping that the ISL clubs would release any 22 players from the registered 50 for the upcoming Asian Games, allowing the senior men’s team to participate in the continental showpiece. Most of the clubs had shown unwillingness to release the 22 players named in the Indian squad that was released by the sports ministry, as the Asian Games’ football competition schedule clashes with the ISL, which starts on September 21. The federation has also not ruled out the possibility of star players Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu travelling to Hangzhou, China with the team for the quadrennial extravaganza.

While the Games are scheduled from September 23 to October 8, the football event will kick off on September 19 and continue till October 7.

“AIFF is putting every effort to convince the clubs to cooperate to send the strongest national team to the Games,” a top official of the federation told PTI on Tuesday.

A federation source added, “AIFF is still negotiating but there is no clarity yet. Chhetri, Jhingan and Gurpreet are still not ruled out. It’s up to the clubs to release players they wish to. Any 22 from the long list of 50 will do.” Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and Mohun Bagan Super Giants are among clubs who are not willing to release their players for the Games.

The Indian Super League schedule was announced earlier this month amid doubts over the release of a few India players by clubs for the Asian Games.

The league clashes with the Asian Games where the football competition begins on September 19 and continues till October 7.

The 22-member Indian men’s squad for the Asian Games has players from 10 ISL clubs and some of them are reluctant to release their players.

Out of the 22 players named in the squad, six are from Bengaluru FC, three from Mumbai City FC, while FC Goa, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters have two each.

Newly-promoted Punjab FC, Chennaiyin FC and Hyderabad FC have one each.

The AIFF had also written to the 10 ISL clubs to release their players selected for the Asian Games, keeping the “national interest in mind”. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had initially refused to clear the Indian football teams for the Asian Games on the ground that they were not ranked in the top-8 in Asia.

The AIFF then appealed to the sports ministry to allow the men’s and women’s sides to take part in the prestigious event with national senior team head coach Igor Stimac also seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.

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Bernard Greenhall
Bernard Greenhall

Bernard is a sports and physical education expert with years of experience. He's passionate about promoting health and wellness through physical activity, and he's worked with athletes and non-athletes alike to help them achieve their fitness goals. Bernard holds a degree in Physical Education and is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and research in his field.

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