AIFF President formulates Task Force to study status of PIO footballers

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All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Kalyan Chaubey on Monday, constituted a Task Force for a feasibility study and evaluation of the footballers, who come under the status of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

The Task Force will also evaluate the players playing at a higher level and the status of youth players. The Task Force will submit its report by January 31, 2024.

The Task Force, Chaubey announced, will be chaired by Samir Thapar, the President of the Punjab Football Association, and a veteran sports administrator. The AIFF President will name the other members of the Task Force after consultations with the chairman and the Executive Committee.

Making the announcement, Chaubey said, “The Task Force’s primary objective will be to collect data on footballers who are either Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) or Persons of Indian Origin (PIO). It is a matter of great pride for us that many such footballers are playing in different countries with distinction and have made a name for themselves in the tough world of professional football.”

Asked whether the data could be used to approach some of these footballers to play for the Indian National Teams at different levels, Chaubey said, “We are aware that as per the existing law of the land, OCIs and PIOs are not allowed to represent India in international sporting events unless they adopt Indian citizenship.

“However, if we want to open up a dialogue and look into various ways of allowing such players to represent the Indian Football Teams, then we need concrete and comprehensive data to back up our arguments, which is why we have constituted this Task Force,” said Chaubey.

“We will first form a comprehensive database on the OCI and PIO footballers around the world, and then look for the best possible ways to use such players to take Indian football forward,” added the AIFF President.

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