Gokulam FC, the current India Women’s League title-holder, has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an immediate intervention after they are left stranded in Uzbekistan.
The club has been training in Tashkent for the upcoming AFC Women’s Club championships, but now there’s no surety over their participation after FIFA banned the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The decision means Indian clubs can no longer participate in any tournament held under the purview of FIFA.
Gokulam FC issued a letter to the Prime Minister on Twitter, just six days before they are originally scheduled to take on Sogdania- W in the opening fixture. The entire contingent arrived on 16th August, the same day when FIFA’s ban came into effect.
“Our team reached Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Kozhikode during the early hours of 16th of August 2022. On arrival, we heard through various media outlets that FIFA has banned AIFF (All India Football Federation) and the clubs are therefore no longer entitled to take part in the international competition until the suspension is lifted,” read a statement from Gokulam Kerala.
“In the light of the above, we request PMOs good officers to intervene in this matter and make all efforts to revoke FIFA ban and include us back in the AFC Women’s Club Championship as the champion club of India,” it added.
Earlier this year in May, the Kozikhode-based club successfully retained the IWL championships, after defeating Sethu FC on the final day. They finished the tournament with a perfect result, winning all eleven matches they played.
The statement also highlighted the mental and physical distress the team, with an average age of just 21, is going through. “23 of our players with an average age of 21 got grounded at Tashkent with disappointment coupled with distress as our preparation both mentally and physically went awry.”
“We have been declared ineligible for no fault of ours. In the light of the above, we request PMO officers to intervene in this matter and make all efforts to revoke the FIFA ban and include us back in the AFC championships.”
Lead Image: Twitter/Gokulam FC