Seeking clarification from FIFA regarding PIOs: AIFF

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Kolkata, (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is trying to clarify with FIFA if PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) can be allowed to play for the country, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said here on Monday.

After India lost to Guam in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, national coach Stephen Constantine said PIOs would be of great help to the team, if the government allowed them to play.

“We are seeking some clarification with FIFA if with the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card, a player can play for the national team, but I think the answer is no, because you need a passport to play for the country. Without a passport, it is very difficult. But we have asked for clarification,” Das said at a press conference here.

Asked what would be the future of the 72 players who were not bought by any Indian Super League (ISL) franchise in the recently concluded draft for the 2015 season, Das said: “This is a process which is up to the clubs, because they decide to take the players, anyways this players can play the I-league later.”

“In the ISL, the clubs have a particular philosophy and players are taken according to what the coaches and the management want.

Das said the AIFF could give a thought to helping state associations with funds generated from the ISL, just as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) helps state associations with finances generated from the Indian Premier League (IPL), once the league turns profitable.

“Right now, every ISL franchise is losing money. So there’s no money in the system. They lost around Rs.30-35 crore in the first year and when you take into account everything including the production costs, they lost around Rs.100 crore in total.”

“Only when this thing turns into a profitable venture, we can look at it.”

“They are for now interested only in the grassroots programmes,” he said.

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