Indian football fans launch petition to allow Persons of Indian Origin to play for National team

Micheal Chopra
Faizan Qadiri
Michael Chopra has been vocal in his desire to represent India

Following India’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Guam, a defeat that handed India back-to-back defeats in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, there has been a lot of hue and cry raised about the rule that stops Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) to play for the National team. Some fans have taken the matter into their own hands and have launched a petition to allow PIO’s to play for the National team.

Since India does not allow dual citizenship, if a PIO wants to represent India he would have to give up his citizenship for his country of birth. Manager Stephen Constantine was unhappy about not being able to pick PIO’s for his squad. Comparing his squad to the Guam team he said, “The difference was very much visible between a group of players who have the best football education and the rest. 75 percent of the players who represented Guam have been born and brought up in the US and that made a huge difference.”

Naturalization is a common practice in the world of football

Naturalization is the process of acquiring the citizenship of a country other than the one of your birth.

The Guam team that India lost to had only one player in the starting eleven who was born in Guam. Every other player was born in the United States of America. Guam aren't the only team to do this. In the 2014 World Cup, the Algerian team who earned plaudits for their style of play and performances had 17 out of the 23 players born in France. Half of these players even represented France at the youth levels.

Even 2010 World Cup winners Spain convinced Diego Costa, born in Brazil, to switch to La Roja having already made two friendly appearances for the South American side. 2014 World Champions Germany had Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski in their squad when the pair of them were actually born in Poland.

There are a number of talented players of Indian origin who would be able to change the outcome of matches on their own. The fans are planning to raise this issue by sending the online petition to the Sports Ministry of India for consideration.

If you want to sign the petition it can be done here.

Edited by Staff Editor


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