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Uncertainties over SAFF U-20 Championship as Tournament Waits for MEA Clearance

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Last Updated: July 16, 2022, 15:12 IST

New Delhi, India

AIFF (Twitter)

AIFF (Twitter)

AIFF has already acquired the required permissions from the ministry of sports and the ministry of home affairs

India are set to host the SAFF U-20 Championship scheduled to start from July 25 in Bhubaneswar. Though the fate of the tournament seems to be in jeopardy as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has reportedly not yet provided any clearance for the event to be held in India. A clearance from the ministry is required as the visiting teams from other countries will have to apply for visas in order to take part in the SAFF U-20 Championship.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has already acquired the required permissions from the ministry of sports and the ministry of home affairs. “We are now worried. Because of the weekend, the earliest that the letter can be provided to us is Monday, and that would still leave visiting teams with little time to apply for visas and make (travel) arrangements,” a senior official told Times of India.

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The current conundrum may cause a problem for the visiting teams as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives were expected to arrive from July 21 to 22.

India will start their SAFF U-20 Championship campaign against Bangladesh on July 27. Five teams will face each other in a round-robin format. The top two teams will eventually feature in the summit final clash scheduled to be played on August 5.

The U-20 Indian team will also feature in the AFC U-20 Asian Cup qualifiers later in the year. India are placed in the same group along with Australia, hosts Iraq, and Kuwait.

The visa problem has also created big trouble in the FIFAe Nations Cup 2022. Indian football team, scheduled to feature in the FIFAe Nations Cup 2022 in Denmark, have reportedly failed to secure their visas from the Embassy of Denmark in India.

India are placed in Group D along with Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland and Italy.

“The visa application was made in June but the embassy had suspended all visa appointments for short-term visas. The appointments reopened on July 6 and the five-member Indian team submitted everything to the (visa outsourcing) agency on July 8,” a source told Times of India.

The source claimed that the passports were returned after a week but without the visas. Later, it was informed that the embassy needs a clear 15-day timeline to process the visas.

The FIFAe Nations Cup 2022 is slated to be held in Copenhagen. The event will start from July 27.

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first published:July 16, 2022, 15:12 IST
last updated:July 16, 2022, 15:12 IST
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