Indian National Team: Delay In Federation Cup Qualifiers To Be Blamed On Indecision Over West Indies Tour

With a little over a month’s time to go, the date and venue and format for Federation Cup qualifiers isn’t known…
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) haven’t yet announced the format, date and venue for the Federation Cup qualifiers due to the confusion created by a needless tour to West Indies.

Every year two teams qualify after a series of qualifying matches to make it into the Federation Cup group stages as the teams are divided into groups of four.

For the 2011-12 season, no decision has been taken as to how the qualifiers are to be conducted and where.

According to one school thought, they must allow the large chunk of clubs, like every year, to participate in the qualifiers while the other is of the opinion to only allow the second division I-League’s finalists, except for those who eventually made it into the I-League, to compete amongst each other with the top two advancing to the group stages of the Federation Cup.

The flaw in the first proposal is that majority of clubs do not even come close to fulfill AFC’s club licensing criterion, which is to be customized according to the Indian scenario very soon. While the second division I-League finalists at least on paper meet the required norms.

The delay in clearing the air on the above has been primarily due to the advent of the West Indies tour for the national team for which the clubs rightly chose not to release their players as it’s against their interests.

This highlights the lack of coordination and planning between the departments as there was no consultation with those managing the I-League and other competitions, as they could have foreseen this disaster which confronts the AIFF which has eventually come to hurt everyone involved in the game.

But the Indian FA have no choice over the West Indies tour given that they have signed an agreement for the same unlike the proposed tour to England to play against Pakistan.

In the Emergency Committee meeting to be held on Monday, the AIFF could postpone the Federation Cup but doing so could disrupt the I-League fixture list as well, which wouldn't be an advisable thing to do.

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