Indian men’s and women’s football teams can now compete at Asian Games, as the government has relaxed rules to facilitate participation. The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had earlier mandated that only teams that have been in the top eight in Asia in its sport can represent India in Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China, from September 23 to October 8.
The previous rule, which was relayed to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and other national sports federations by the ministry, said that “for team events, only those sports teams which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia in the last one year should be considered for participation in Asian Games.”
The national men’s football team is currently ranked 18th in Asia, while the women’s team is currently ranked 11th among AFC nations. “Keeping in mind their performances in recent times, the Ministry decided to grant the relaxation,” said Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.
The IOA had refused to clear the Indian football teams from playing at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta based on the same ranking criteria.