All India Football Federation President Praful Patel on Wednesday said that the rescheduling of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in February will not affect the host team’s preparations as it was a short postponement of three months.
The women’s age group showpiece was earlier to be held in five venues of the country from November 2-21 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world body on Tuesday rescheduled the tournament between February 17 and March 7.
“Fortunately, it’s not been a long postponement,” Patel said during the Executive Committee meeting held online on Wednesday.
“I feel the postponement won’t affect the preparation of our team. We were getting ready keeping November (the earlier window) in mind. But we are on track for the event, both from the organisation side, and also the team’s perspective.
He said he was in constant touch with FIFA and Asian Federal Confederation and “everyone is waiting for footballing activities to resume soon”.
The Committee also unanimously decided to implement the ‘3 (foreigners) + 1 (Asian) recruit rule’ for I-League matches from 2020-21 season itself.
The AIFF said Indian Super League organisers FSDL will work with the national federation and present a plan to the Executive Committee on the way forward for foreign players in the next couple of months.
“The AIFF Executive Committee recommended this plan be made so that it can be implemented by 2021-22 season,” the AIFF said.
“The Committee also felt that as per the AFC regulation of clubs needing to play minimum 27 matches to gain eligibility in the AFC Champions League, clubs playing in ISL need to play more matches not just to adhere to the guidelines, but also for the holistic development of players, and Indian football overall.”
Patel also urged the ISL and the I-League clubs to put up a women’s team for the Indian Women’s League.
Women’s football in India cannot be sustainable without participation from clubs, he said.
The Committee condoled the demise of football legends PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, Abdul Latif, Ashok Chatterjee and Rajendra Mohan and observed a minute’s silence as a a mark of respect for the departed souls.
“It’s so sad that we have lost legends to whom Indian Football owes a lot. I put on record my greatest appreciation and respect to the contribution made by these legendary footballers. We hope their play and passion for the game will continue to guide and inspire footballers for now and for the future.”
Besides Patel, senior vice president Subrata Dutta, General Secretary Kushal Das and FSDL CEO Martin Bain were among those who attended the virtual meeting.