India likely to join new regional grouping of South West Asian Football Federation
New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) Aimed at widening its footprint, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is set to join a regional grouping, the South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF), after getting approval from the continental body, a top official said today.
India will continue to be part of the South Asian Football Federation whose four other members Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives will also join the new grouping to be based in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. The other five members of the proposed 10-member SWAFF are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das told PTI that a final shape to this regional grouping may come out after the meeting of the presidents of the 10 national federations on May 25.
"There is a proposal (to form this regional federation) and we said we will examine subject to the approval by the AIFF Executive Committee. It will help in developing Indian football and also improve relationship with these countries," Das told PTI.
"Really speaking it is yet to be formed. There is a meeting of the presidents on May 25 and a final decision will be taken. Tentatively they have proposed it but no documentation in terms of statutes is yet to be prepared and circulated," he said.
Das said India will continue to be part of SAFF as earlier and the new grouping will only help India in several fronts.
"As I understand, SAFF will continue. This is an additional regional federation. As such, none of the regional federations are recognised by the AFC. But for sure, we will join only after the AFC confirms it. One thing is that Bahrain (which is home country of current AFC President) is going to be a member of this regional federation," he said.
Asked about reports that the new grouping was proposed due to internal squabbles within the West Asian Football Federation, Das said, "I don't know all these things beyond saying that we are concerned of our interest. We have nothing to do with other matters