Pruning the number of foreign footballers from the current six will be top among the issues the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) is planning to raise at the all stakeholders meeting scheduled to take place at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
According to an IANS news report, In a meeting with senior footballers here on Monday, former president and All India Footbal Federation (AIFF) advisor Bhaichung Bhutia and president Renedy Singh took stock of their concerns and briefed them about FPAI’s stand, general manager Cyrus Confectioner told IANS.
“The main issue is unemployment of players. We want a merged league or two leagues (I-League and Indian Super League) running simultaneously. More Indian players in the playing eleven of an ISL team is also an issue we are going to raise at the Kuala Lumpur meeting,” Confectioner said.
“We have already written to FSDL (Football Sports Development Ltd) on this and got no reply. How does 40 Indian players playing in the ISL help Indian football? We need more teams and Indians in the ISL,” he further added.
Bhutia and Renedy will be attending the meeting on Wednesday, Confectioner said.
Bhutia, a former India captain, had told reporters on Sunday that, “there should be merger of the ISL and the I-League. And then 20 teams should compete with each other for a long duration tournament, which will benefit Indian football.
“Now one league is played for four months, and then there is a break of four-five months before the other one is played. This does not benefit the footballers.
“If both tourneys run simultaneously, then more number of players will get an opportunity to play in top tournaments. So unemployment among Indian footballers will go down. This will greatly benefit the footballer, as in this sport players’ time span is very short, around 15 years.”
Among others, monday’s meeting was attended by Mohan Raj, Mehtab Hossain, Arindam Bhattacharya, Alvito D’Cunha, Naseem Akhtar and Anit Kumar Ghosh.
The FPAI, which is not recognised by All India Football Federation (AIFF), the sport’s governing body in the country, is under the aegis of International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro), the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional footballers.