FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Indian team players to be tied down by AIFF; no ISL for 2-3 years for them
What’s the story?
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) expects the U-17 Indian players who will represent the country at the FIFA U-17 World Cup to sign a long-term contract with them by next week before the World Cup commences, according to a Goal India report. It is believed that the AIFF's latest move is to protect the Indian players from the influences of agents and ISL, I-League clubs until their development phase is over.
The 21-member Indian team for next month's FIFA U-17 World Cup was announced by head coach Luís Norton de Matos which comprises many talented players including Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Jitendra Singh, Komal Thatal among others. The AIFF had been planning to make an I-League team of their own, including the Under-17 players selected for the Under-17 World Cup to continue the development of the players as part of the same core group.
The heart of the matter
A few Indian players who have not been included in the 21-member squad will also be handed the contract.
The AIFF would field an I-League team from Delhi which would comprise mostly the U-17 players and a few U-19 players.
“We want to sign the players before the U-17 World Cup commences,” an AIFF official was quoted as saying. It is also believed that the AIFF intends to build this U-17 Indian team under their close watch without introducing the players to the many scouts and club officials who will be watching the U-17 World Cup with a keen interest in the hope of roping in a star performer or two.
The players would be handed 2-3 year long contracts to help them continue their development with the Indian team, instead of letting the players join Indian Super League (ISL) or I-League clubs.The players who will sign the contract with the AIFF will remain under the Indian team coach, who will overlook the players' development.
The name of the team that will be fielded by the AIFF is yet to be finalised.
Whether this proves to be a masterstroke from the AIFF remains to be seen, but with this move, the over-protection of India's first World Cup players by the governing body has reached a whole new level. If the access to the players for media and the general publicwasn't enough, now clubs and agents will also have very little access to these kids.