India is the only country that doesn't like players from abroad coming back to play for them, says a frustrated Danny Batth
What’s the story?
Danny Batth, the skipper of EFL Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers had turned a keen eye towards playing for India on the international scene earlier this year. And the news gained much traction when he visited the country and had a conference with Indian national team coach Stephen Constantine.
However, his attempts to make himself eligible to play for the Blue Tigers have left the 26-year-old frustrated.
Speaking to Sky Sports on the issue, the Wolves skipper quipped, “My dad was born in India and came to England when he was 12 years old. As a product of that, I am half-Indian, so obviously it opens up the opportunity to seek an opportunity to play for the national team.
"It's something I would like to have the option of doing. I think it's the only country in the world where they don't like players from different countries coming back to play and represent them.
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"I think it is [a shame] because obviously, it's a great nation. There is a lot of representation [people of Indian origin] in England as well, and I'm sure they would love nothing more than seeing someone born in England playing for the national team."
In case you didn’t know...
A centre-back by trade, Batth had made his intentions of representing India known in May. The defender was reportedly even willing to give up his British passport for an Indian one.
Even forward Michael Chopra had declared his wish to give up his British passport in order to play for India. However, with the ex-Newcastle man’s best days behind him, it looks as though Constantine has moved on from entertaining any discussion regarding the same.
The heart of the matter
Elaborating on his struggles, the Wolves man stated that he had been doing his “fair bit of digging” as he wasn’t too sure what the situation of the game was in the country and why no one from the nation was playing in Europe.
However, the biggest obstacle that seems to be in his path is the criterion of the Indian Government which states that one has to be a resident in India to play for the national team. With Batth leading the charge for the Wolves from the back in the EFL Championship, that would be a scenario that the defender states as "a brick wall".
Even if he is to get an Indian passport, Batth would find complications arising in England as he would have to get additional paperwork for a work permit – which becomes a complication as India is ranked quite low in the FIFA rankings.
Indian sports minister Vijay Goel had earlier stated his intentions of taking a personal look at the Danny Batth situation in order to help Indian football.
The dual citizenship issue has always been a thorn in the side of Indian-origin footballers abroad looking to play for the national team. One has to be a resident of the country for a period of 12 months before applying for an Indian passport in addition to giving up his earlier one.
The addition of players of the repute of Batth can only aid the development of the country. With India looking to make a move further in World Football, a few changes in the rules pertaining to such matters are welcome.