AIFF increases foreign player quota for I-League clubs
Will this help bridge the gap between ISL and I-League?
What's the story?
Amidst all the changes being ingrained in Indian football at the moment the limit on the number of foreign players that an I-League club can sign has been increased. According to the new rules, every I-League side can now have foreigners in the squad for the new season. Two of the foreigners, however, have to be from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) governed nations.
The AIFF Executive Committee has taken the final decision with regards to the number of foreign players in the upcoming Hero I-League 2017-18.
#1 The clubs will be allowed to register 6 (six) foreign players out of which at least 2 (two) players have to be from an AFC member Association
#2 The clubs can field maximum 5 (five) foreign players in a match out of which minimum 1 (one) player has to be from an AFC Member Association.
In case you didn't know...
Till last season, each club in the I-League was allowed to sign only four foreigners in their squad with one of them compulsory belonging to a country affiliated with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Meanwhile, ISL clubs from the coming season on can sign up to eight players of foreign origin and have no restrictions on the nationality of the player.
The heart of the matter
In a bid to attract sponsors and public to the I-League, a few clubs, noticeably the East Bengal and Mohun Bagan wanted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to increase the number of foreigners in the league and had reportedly proposed to increase the number to eight.
The Executive Committee of the AIFF subsequently took heed of the clubs' request and increased the cap to six foreigners per each side.
Now with the revised set of rules, every I-League club can field a maximum of five foreigners in the playing eleven from the upcoming season. Meanwhile, ISL clubs can still field only four foreigners in their starting lineups which have irked many clubs since the inception of this rule.
Though this move might prove to be beneficial for the I-League clubs and the league, it cannot be the case for the Indian players. The federation has reduced one Indian player's spot in each time which might be a thing of worry for the hopeful Indian players.
It will also be interesting to see how the teams manage the balance of their squad according to the new set of rules.