On July 15, Saturday, it was revealed that India's men’s football team are set to miss out on playing in the upcoming Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China from September 24 to October 8. The reason for their disqualification was the Sports Ministry’s criteria, wherein a team has been in the top eight of the continental rankings to make an appearance at the Asiad, but the men’s team currently sits in 18th position.

India women’s football team is also ineligible to appear in the multi-sport event because they are in 11th position on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) rankings. With this specific ruling, both men’s and women’s teams will not be taking part in the back-to-back Asian Games, the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 being the previous one.

Also Read: Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat qualify for Asian Games without selection process

Notably, in the aftermath, it has been reported by RevSportz, that PT Usha, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is against sending India's men’s football team to the Asian Games. It’s because she stated that the IOA is in agreement with the eligibility requirements of the Sports Ministry while suggesting that the team shouldn’t be sent to Asiad because they are not ranked in the top eight of continental rankings.

Earlier, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had planned to have the senior team head coach Igor Stimac lead the u-23 squad at the Asian Games, after taking part in the King's Cup in Thailand. For this, they had shortlisted 40 players, with a keen focus on improving the U23 footballing talent.

Igor Stimac appeals to PM Narendra Modi to allow Indian football team to play in Asian Games

The head coach of India's men’s football team, Igor Stimac, who guided them to their ninth SAFF Championship earlier this month, has sent out a letter, addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the current state of affairs in the Indian football scene.

He concluded the letter by saying, “So my humble appeal and sincere request on behalf of the entire Indian Football fraternity to you, to kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian games. We will fight for our nation’s pride and the flag!”