Gokulam Kerala women’s football team calls on Prime Minister Modi and the Ministry of Sports to help them end their anxious wait for the thaw in the FIFA-AIFF deadlock

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For Gokulam Kerala, the anxious wait continues. India’s champion women’s soccer team was originally supposed to make a short flight to Qarshi from Tashkent in Uzbekistan and continue their preparations for their inaugural Asian Women’s Club Championship campaign. Instead, they were forced to stay in the Uzbek capital – the only remaining team – after being barred from the championship as FIFA suspended the Indian Football Federation (AIFF) for third-party interference.

Kerala Blasters FC, the men’s team who were in Dubai to play three pre-season matches, were also affected. They released a statement that their games have been cancelled. Gokulam Kerala also released a statement on Twitter, a letter addressed to the Prime Minister. “…Our prime minister’s dream is to make India a superpower and become the world’s No. 1. To a small extent, our club is spearheading efforts to bring women’s football to India… so we again humbly seek your good offices to step in.

Gokulam’s hopes were pinned on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday morning. However, the Supreme Court adjourned the case until Monday, August 22, after the government said it had, together with the Board of Trustees, held a meeting with FIFA on Tuesday and that there was “a little broken ice”.

It meant, however, that India’s suspension would remain in place when the Asian Women’s Club Championship kicks off on August 20. And as a result, Gokulam’s participation remains on hold after FIFA wrote to all its member associations, reminding them not to take part in any competition. ‘sporting contact with the AIFF’ and its teams during his suspension.

Desperate to find a solution, the management of the Gokulam Kerala team contacted the Ministry of Sports on Wednesday afternoon, seeking their intervention. The ministry had already taken action and sent a letter to the Asian Football Confederation asking them to grant Gokulam Kerala an exemption and allow them to participate in the championship.

“Our request is that in the interest of young female athletes who have already reached Uzbekistan from India prior to the communication of the AIFF suspension decision by FIFA, the Sree Gokulam Kerala FC team can be allowed to participate in the 2022 AFC Women’s Club Championship,” director of the Ministry of Sports, SPS Toman wrote in his letter.

The AFC have now offered the team a 48-hour extension in Tashkent instead of asking them to return immediately. However, unless FIFA lifts his suspension or grants a special waiver, uncertainty over their participation remains.

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