What’s the story?
The 2018 U-13 Youth League recently concluded with Minerva Punjab emerging victorious over Mohammedan Sporting by a comprehensive 3-0 victory. While there have been no official announcements regarding age fudging, the accusations have been aplenty.
In case you didn't know
There have previously been accounts of age-fudging within regional football groups in India. Back in January, All India Football Federation (AIFF) disqualified teams from various age brackets for the same, like youth teams of Bengaluru FC, Jammu United FC and Ozone FC.
The heart of the matter
After the conclusion of the Youth League the other day, there have been fingers pointed at certain players and clubs for age distortion.
Football Delhi president, Shaji Prabhakaran, came forward with a firm stand on the matter, criticising this practice.
While talking to SportsKeeda, Prabhakaran said, “Age fudging is a rampant problem, not only in football but also across all sports in our country.
In my time as a football administrator, I have seen, and taken action against some of the top clubs, including East Bengal and Mohun Bagan for age-fudging.”
According to him, “The only way we can stop this from happening is by making examples out of those who are guilty of it. Only then will people realise that this is wrong, Selecting an overaged player in your team means that you are denying so many deserving candidates in that age category a chance to play. This is not right. We, at Football Delhi are organizing junior tournaments later this year. Right now, we are still in the planning stage, and we are taking every precaution to put a check to age-fudging in Delhi. Authorities need to make examples of age-fudging defaulters.”
It is yet to be seen whether the authorities will look into the matter and take any actions against the suspected players and teams involved.
Whether the names of the guilty parties are released is another point of contention.
The AIFF previously gained a lot of support for their actions against age fudging, and it would be a boost to Indian football if they can maintain the stringent environment.