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AIFF denies allegations of stranding Indian players after King's Cup

Allegations have emerged that the AIFF is trying to retain players beyond the FIFA window by not providing return tickets from Thailand.

AIFF denies allegations of stranding Indian players after Kings Cup

India lost to Iraq in a penalty shootout at the King's Cup semi-final last week. (AIFF)


Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 11 Sep 2023 10:41 AM GMT

Shaji Prabhakaran, the Secretary General of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), has categorically denied allegations that the AIFF is trying to keep players with the national team beyond the FIFA window by not providing them with return tickets from Thailand after the King’s Cup.

"The allegations made on social media are false, the players will return to India according to the plan", Shaji told The Bridge.

The controversy is centered around the uncertainty regarding the return of players who participated in the 49th King’s Cup. The initial AIFF letter to clubs stated that players would return on September 11, according to Hindustan Times.

The Asian Games, set to begin on September 19, will also see India's national teams compete.

However, with the ISL season set to kick off on September 21, clubs were hesitant to release their players for national team duty for the upcoming Asian Games, fearing that they might miss crucial fixtures of the league.

The opening match in the Asian games against China clashes with the first day of the 2023/24 ISL season. With the uncertainty surrounding player releases, return tickets, and their subsequent availability for both the Asian Games and ISL, speculation had arisen regarding AIFF's priorities and whether they may be stranding players.

However, Shaji Prabhakaran has unequivocally rejected the allegations, assuring that the AIFF will ensure players' smooth return to their respective clubs according to the initial plan itself.

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