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Not playing professional football is a death sentence: Anwar Ali

Anwar Ali representing the India U-17 side in the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Anwar Ali representing the India U-17 side in the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Mohak Arora
Modified 16 Sep 2020, 01:56 IST

Former Mumbai City FC defender Anwar Ali has refused to quit football after being advised to do so by doctors due to his heart condition.

Anwar Ali started his career with the Minerva academy and came through their ranks to eventually play for Minerva Punjab in the I-League. After playing in the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup, Anwar Ali went on loan to represent the Indian Arrows like many of his teammates from the tournament.

After impressing in the I-League for a couple of seasons, the young sensation signed for Mumbai City FC to play in the Indian Super League. But in 2019, the defender was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart condition which put his professional football career in jeopardy.

The 20-year old joined I-League division two club Mohammedan last month but last week, the AIFF came to a decision to not allow Ali to play in the football league due to his condition.

“His reports have been sent to the AFC and till a final decision is taken, he has been asked to stop practice. A decision on his future in football should come by this weekend,” I-League chief executive officer Sunando Dhar told PTI.

Now, Anwar Ali has written a 57-page letter to the AIFF reasoning why he should be allowed to play in the professional football leagues. Here are some excerpts from the letter.

“Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees me the right to earn a livelihood for myself. If I wish to take an informed risk and am ready to monitor my condition with the help of medical experts, then it is ultimately my choice, whether I wish to take the risk of playing football professionally," he writes.

“Football is the only thing I know, and if AIFF bans me, I'll be forced to play in low-level tournaments like Khep in Kolkata to make ends meet. There are no medical facilities in these tournaments, so the chances of me dying on the field will be much higher. Your disqualification of me will be a death sentence for me and my family. I beg you to let me play," Anwar Ali concluded.

Published 16 Sep 2020, 01:56 IST
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