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Indian Football: Why India Doesn’t Play in the FIFA World Cup? Why is it Low-Ranked? Why do we Struggle? 2022

Here is a quick look at all the reasons why the Indian football team is not as good and dominant as the Indian cricket team.

Indian football has always struggled. In a country with 1.5 billion people, we have failed to find 15 to 16 great football players who can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world. So, is it a management flaw? Or is it our genetics that holds us back? Are Indians not meant to play football? With Asian countries such as Japan and Korea making it to the quarterfinals, an Indian does get a feeling of seeing the bright blue Indian jersey at the FIFA World Cup. Here is a look at the reasons why India isn’t exceptional at football: 

Indian Football

Indian Football Management is Not Structured:  

We take the example of Indian cricket. Indian cricket has one of the best structures when it comes to hierarchical management. We have associations at the state level that are answerable to the BCCI. The state-level organizations are further divided into local bodies and academies that work on finding the best players from the smallest of towns. Football in India on the other hand doesn’t have such kind of a structure. We have the AIFF. AIFF stands for the “All India Football Federation”.   

Indian football min

The AIFF isn’t further divided into state associations. And even if it is, these associations are corrupted. Also, football follows a club-type structure. These clubs need to have financial backing in the form of sponsors or maybe academy funds. The thing is when we talk about clubs, privatization gets involved. Private firms need to invest the funds to grow and train the players.  

Private companies do not invest money because they are not assured of the returns. And even if they don’t get any returns and think of investing in marketing, there is a limited audience to the sport. And the government doesn’t invest money because they are not getting much in return.   

Legal Disputes are a big issue for Indian Football:  

In recent times efforts have been made for the expansion of football. The Indian Super League was a huge step in Indian football for its growth. Reliance had invested money and had expected Indian football to grow as Indian cricket did after the IPL. But the makers of the I-League, a tournament that existed earlier, got into a legal dispute with the founders of the ISL. The dispute was to determine which league will be the supreme decisive one in the nation.  

Indian Football
IMG SRC: ISL Facebook

Most of the senior players however choose to play the ISL. This gives us a hint that this tournament has money and gives the players a sense of financial security. This is one big positive sign for Indian football. But the legal disputes have marred Indian football as a whole.  

FIFA’s ban of the All-India Football Federation: 

The biggest reason why India doesn’t play football at the top level currently is the fact that the Indian football association has been banned by the AIFF for 2 years. This ban has come for a very fiscal reason. The reason is that FIFA suspected “third-party” intervention in the governance of Indian football. This ban has been previously imposed in many countries. It is like how Zimbabwe was about to get banned from cricket by the ICC due to Robert Mugabe’s influence on the Zimbabwe Cricket Association. But was anything found against the AIFF, not really. 

There are many more reasons but to sum it up, these 3 are the most important ones.   

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To know more go to the official website of the AIFF.