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FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: AIFF clarifies that the overage player is not a part of the final 21-member squad

Sumedh Pande
234   //    26 Sep 2017, 20:00 IST

The Indian U-17 has been embroiled in a major age-related controversy

What's the story? 

All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been forced to deny all the allegations regarding player-age violations in the Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Yesterday, a report in the Times of India caused a huge uproar when the newspaper claimed that the management had to drop one of the players from the final squad after being judged overage according to an MRI scan. 

In order to calm the proceedings regarding this controversy, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das issued a clarification to ESPN. He said, "We got the standard FIFA MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests done every five or six months for the entire list of probables. Before one of our last camps in Bengaluru, we got MRI tests done for all the players and one case was found to be on the borderline. The coach didn't want to take a chance and hence didn't name that player in the final squad."

In case you didn't know...

FIFA guidelines suggest that a player born not before January 1, 2000 and not later than December 31, 2002 can only represent his nation in the U-17 World Cup. The governing body will also conduct its own tests throughout the course of the competition with the current controversy set to bring the Indian squad under extra scrutiny. 

India has seen its fair share of age-related offences in its youth leagues. Last year's U-16 I-League saw Gurgaon-based Conscient FC being disqualified for fielding as many as seven players with fake birth certificates. Clubs like Ozone FC and Mohun Bagan have also been dragged in these sort of violations. 

The heart of the matter 

Kushal Das has also made it clear that the final 21-member squad announced for the World Cup has passed all the tests and is perfect for FIFA criterion. It is believed that all the selected candidates went through extensive tests to avoid further embarrassment for the host nation. 

The MRI scan regarding the age-related offences is done by taking a digital X-RAY of the left wrist to gauge the bone density of an individual. If it crosses the mark of Grade 6, that player is immediately disqualified from further participation. 

What's next? 

The World Cup starts off in about two weeks’ time with the hosts beginning their campaign against the United States of America at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital, New Delhi. 

Author's take 

This whole fiasco regarding a player being overage should have been dealt by the board far before the final preparations for the big event were in place. This controversy could have been very much avoided in what would be a nightmarish episode for Luis Norton De Matos and his boys just a fortnight before their first ever game in the World Cup.

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Sumedh Pande
An avid Premier League watcher with specialization in transfer news and post match analysis. Follow European and Indian football with minute attention with one eye on the world of cricket.
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