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Indian Football Team Likely to Miss Asian Games Again Due to Ranking Criteria


The Indian football team is facing the possibility of missing out on the Asian Games for the second consecutive time, as it fails to meet the Sports Ministry’s requirement of being among the top 8 teams in Asia. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had initially planned for the national senior team, led by coach Igor Stimac, to participate in the tournament with an Under-23 squad after the Kings Cup in Thailand. However, the current rankings place India at the 18th spot among countries under the Asian Football Confederation.

In a letter addressed to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all National Sports Federations (NSFs), the Sports Ministry stated that only sports with a ranking within the top 8 among participating Asian countries in the last year would be considered for participation in the Asian Games.

The AIFF has expressed its intention to appeal to the sports ministry to reconsider the decision. AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran stated, “This is a decision made by the government, so we have to comply with it. However, we will appeal to the government to reconsider the decision regarding football. The performance of the Indian team this year has been highly encouraging. It would be a tremendous boost for football, especially for the U-23 boys, if they are given the opportunity to compete in the Asian Games.”

It is worth noting that the IOA had previously declined to clear the Indian football team for the 2018 Asian Games based on the same ranking criteria, as India was not among the top 8 teams in Asia at the time.

However, there may be a glimmer of hope for the AIFF. The Sports Ministry’s instructions to the IOA and NSFs include a provision that allows for consideration of participation in exceptional cases, where justifiable reasons are presented by experts in the respective sports disciplines and the Sports Authority of India.

The Indian football community is eagerly awaiting a favorable decision that would enable the U-23 players to showcase their talent and represent the nation at the Asian Games. It is a significant platform for young players to gain valuable experience and contribute to the growth of football in India.

The AIFF, led by Kalyan Chaubey, remains hopeful that their appeal will be taken into consideration by the Sports Ministry, taking into account the progress and potential of the Indian football team.


Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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