New Delhi: In a bizarre development that violates all rules and regulations of the game, top I-League players are set to represent unregistered teams in a seven-a-side football tournament, consisting eight city-based sides, beginning at Malappuram in Kerala, from Tuesday.
According to sources, the players’ register includes the likes of Sunil Chetri, Okolie Odafe, NP Pradeep, Dhanrajan, K. Ajayan, CS Sabeeth, Mohammed Rafi and many others. While Odafe, reportedly, is set to get Rs 1 lakh per match, Chetri may pocket Rs 60,000.
As per the rules, seven-a-side soccer is not recognised by Fifa or AIFF and no registered player can take part in it. To add to it, a footballer can play for only one club in a season. At present, the I-League players are not even allowed to play Santosh Trophy.
Strangely, both AIFF and Kerala Football Association (KFA) are aware of this circus but have so far taken no action against the players and the organisers. Kushal Das, AIFF general secretary, however said that he had not granted permission to the tournament. “The KFA wrote us in this regard, but I told them the federation does not deal with seven-a-side football, which is not recognised by Fifa,” Das said.