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Football team’s fate remains uncertain

New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has made a recommendation to the sports ministry that sportspersons representing disciplines not cleared for the Asian Games by SAI, should not be allowed to go to Incheon on their own.

“We have already suggested that football, table tennis, basketball, handball and sepak takraw should not be cleared for the Asian Games, as they don’t stand any chance of winning a medal,” said a senior SAI official.

“We have also said that these teams should not be allowed to go at a no-cost-to-government basis. After all, they would be participating wearing national colours. A below-par performance would lower the prestige of the country,” he added.

However, despite the SAI’s repeated attempts to back only the medal winners, the meeting between the sports ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday, over the size of the Indian contingent, remained inconclusive.

IOA officials, it was learnt, pointed out that the Indian football team should be cleared as they did exceptionally well in the last Asian Games and reached the quarter-finals.

Under the circumstances, it might take the sports ministry another couple of days to reach a decision.