Pune: The wrangling between the I-League teams and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) over the representation in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) events, may take some time to resolve.
Notwithstanding what happens to the I-League imbroglio, the Indian Super League teams would have to eventually fall in line with the FIFA norms that allows only four foreign players in the playing eleven as against six that are currently allowed in the ISL matches.
“This is yet to be told in writing to us, but now that AFC recognises ISL and if the ISL teams are to be playing in AFC events we will have to reduce our foreign players to the prescribed norms,” said FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel.
The AFC recently accorded recognition to the ISL, which has put the I-League teams at loggerheads as so far the top two teams from the I-League were getting berths in the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup group stage respectively.
“Foreign player policy of ISL is something that goes against the AFC and FIFA norms and I know we will have to eventually get down to four but that would happen gradually, maybe in two-three overs,” said Modwel, during a prize distribution function of FC Pune City Corporate Super Cup.
With the ISL and I-League set to be played simultaneously, Modwel said instead of bickering over who gets preference one should look as the larger picture wherein more players would get to play competitive football.
“With the two leagues running concurrently, there will be exclusive players with either of the teams meaning more players will get the chance to play competitive games,” said Modwel.
“There were players who needed to be released by I-League clubs to join ISL teams, but now with both leagues running together, there will be definite players,” said Modwel.
That will also up the number of players playing professional football from 100-120 now to around 300.
“Simultaneous leagues will help more players earn professional contracts and also increase the pool of talent which in turn will benefit the national team,” Modwel said adding that there will be a good window for the National team to regroup and play.