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Only a few states abide by the age-restriction standards, with a posse of states over-stepping without the fear of implications or repercussions...

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) governance as India’s footballing authority has been cast into the negative spotlight again, as sources close to the body have revealed to The Telegraphthat the Indian FA regularly pay no heed to infringement of rules by state federations with respect to barring players who are over-age in an age-restricted tournament and other competing competitions.

Age-fudging, to put in general, is the method by which a player’s age is faked to allow him to participate in a tournament possibly meant for a younger generation. The tournament of interest here is the B.C. Roy Trophy, where the Indian Football Association (IFA), Bengal governing state football body, axed over-aged players from participating in the U-17 format of the tournament.

The aforementioned tournament has gained reputation as a rampant hot-bed for age-related team selection malpractice.

The AIFF, though, have had their faces smeared with the non-sportsmanship of other federations. “Bengal are one of the few states, who stuck by the rule book and fielded a side that had footballers within the stipulated age,” elucidated a source close to the AIFF.

He went on to add, “Teams like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya also adhered to the age restriction. For the rest of the states, it has become a free for all.”

This issue is expected to be hot on the anvil as the AIFF general body meets.

“I was aghast to see that AIFF had made no arrangement to take a medical examination of the boys when it was clear that a host of states had openly fielded over-aged boys,” explained a participating coach, who believes the entire exercise was carried out to save a particular state federation’s fate in the tournament. 


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