Calcutta: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was left red-faced on Sunday when United SC made a mockery of the rule intended to give exposure to talented youngsters.
While the AIFF has made it mandatory for all I-League teams to include two U-23 players in their 18-man squad and retain at least one in their playing XI, they haven’t made it clear whether that player has to be on the pitch for the entire duration of the match. That means an U-23 player may be substituted with an above-23 player.
United, during their match against Rangdajied United FC on Sunday, made full use of the loophole and substituted their U-23 player, Biswajit Biswas, after just five minutes of the start with much older Vineeth CK.
That United were well within the perimeter of rules was confirmed by match commissioner Gulab Chauhan after the match.
Coach Eelco Schattorie termed it as a “nonsensical” rule. “You never begin development at the topů It has to be from the bottom. It’s a nonsensical rule,” he said.