All India Football Federation (AIFF) apologised to Gokulam Kerala FC for their exit from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Club Championship due to the FIFA suspension.
While, on one hand, AIFF expressed their happiness over FIFA’s decision to lift ban from Indian football, on the other, they owed an apology to the talented girls of Gokulam Kerala FC who had trained hard for the AFC event.
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Indian Football Team’s official Twitter account released an official statement of the apology, which read,
“🚨 AIFF Statement 🚨
#IndianFootball is back on track again after FIFA lifted its suspension on AIFF on August 26. While we are happy with the turn of events, we are also extremely sorry for @GokulamKeralaFC’s exit from the AFC Women’s Club Championship due to the suspension."
🚨 AIFF Statement 🚨#IndianFootball is back on track again after FIFA lifted its suspension on AIFF on August 26. While we are happy with the turn of events, we are also extremely sorry for @GokulamKeralaFC's exit from the AFC Women's Club Championship due to the suspension.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 27, 2022
We request the players, staff and club management to remain strong, and we are sure that they will bounce back once again.#IndianFootball— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 27, 2022
International football body, FIFA lifted suspension on India on Friday after receiving a confirmation that the mandate of the committee of administrators that was set-up earlier only to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the AIFF administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.
Though the ban has been lifted from AIFF but Gokulam Kerala FC became innocent targets of the suspension. After the ban on Indian football, Gokulam FC became ineligible to compete in the tournament and therefore, they were forced to return to India on August 23, the day they were supposed to play their first match of the Championship.
The Indian Women’s League champions did try their best to get permission for them to feature in AFC championship but after a week long struggle, sports ministry informed them that AFC will not make an exception for them to play in the continental Club Championship in Uzbekistan.
Disappointed with the exit, Gokulam Kerala president VC Praveen exclusively told Indian Express, “It looks like both FIFA and (Indian) federation people are two sides of the same coin… hand in gloves. We are really frustrated and feel like being made scapegoats. They clearly pinned us out. FIFA’s interest is the U-17 World Cup. Now the World Cup will happen.”
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He added, “After winning the league, we have every right to be in the AFC. What somebody with brains would’ve done is seen the calendar of what the Indian team is going to play, be it a club or national team, allowed us to play and then imposed a ban so that the club and players are not affected."
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