I-League: Clubs sound out AIFF in discontent with the Academy Accreditation Criteria

AIFF Media
Clubs fear homegrown rule would affect their catchment areas and talent pool...

Several I-League clubs have made their unhappiness clear with the revisions made earlier this week to the Academy Accreditation Criteria which is set to be implemented from the 2017-18 season onwards by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The most contentious of the revisions has been the homegrown rule, which states that a certain percentage of the players registered for the age-group leagues must be homegrown.

More specifically, a minimum of 30% of the total players registered for the U-15 and U-13 Leagues must be homegrown. For the U-18 League, a minimum of 20% of the total players registered for the must be homegrown.

The catch, however, lies in the definition of homegrown, as the AIFF stipulates a homegrown player to be one who bears the same domicile as the state the academy is located in. The belief is that this will help the academy improve the quality of football in the state while acting as a feeder for the first time at the same time.

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Where the clubs have a bone to pick with AIFF is the fact that not all states are equal in terms of footballing talent and hence their catchment areas could prove to be a handicap.

For example, if some particular states do not have a footballing culture that is difficult to inculcate, the clubs based out of those states would suffer as against the states that have a strong footballing background.

As a counter to this particular rule, the clubs who are unhappy with this decision have posited that the definition of homegrown be relaxed and that any player who bears an Indian passport from whichever part of the geographical landscape of India should be considered homegrown.