AIFF suspension: Gokulam Kerala disallowed from taking part at AFC Club championship, PM’s intervention sought

As what could be termed as the first after-effect of world football governing body FIFA’s suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), India’s representative at the AFC Women’s Club championship, Gokulam Kerala, has been disallowed from taking part in the tournament, scheduled to kick off at Qarshi, Uzbekistan, on August 20.

Gokulam has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister in the matter. The Kerala-based team’s management has already sent a letter to the Prime Minister.

Also read:FIFA bans AIFF | Why it happened and what it means for Indian football

The Gokulam contingent has already arrived at the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent, where it is stranded now. “On arrival, we heard through various media outlets that FIFA has banned AIFF (All India Football Federation) and the clubs are therefore no longer entitled to take part in the international competition until the suspension is lifted (Copy of the letter issued by FIFA, August 14, 2022, is attached),” says the letter from Goulam’s CEO Ashok Kumar to the Prime Minister.

Also read: Centre seeks urgent hearing in AIFF case, Supreme Court to hear on August 17

The letter further says: “Our first match against Iran is scheduled on 23rd August 2022. To take part in the prestigious AFC Women’s Club Championship, we trained for sixty days since June 18th and reached Tashkent on 16 th August 2022. The Asian Football Confederation sent a letter to the All India Football Federation on 16th August, 2022 (Copy of the letter issued by AFC is attached) stating that our club is no longer eligible to take part in the AFC Women’s Club Competition 2022.”

“However, AIFF has not sent any mail or letter to our club anticipating that the ban will be lifted by FIFA within a couple of days. Our club’s women’s football team consisting of 23 players with an average age of 21 got grounded at Tashkent with disappointment coupled with distress as our preparation both mentally and physically went awry.”

“It may be please be seen that our women players and the club has been declared ineligible to participate in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2022 for no fault of ours.”

FIFA has banned AIFF for undue influence from third parties. After the removal of AIFF President Praful Patel, the Supreme Court had constituted CoA to run the federation.

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