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Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and others pen open letter to stakeholders of Indian football over 'age fraud'

In a bold move aimed at addressing a persistent issue in Indian football, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and several other clubs have come together to issue an open letter to stakeholders, highlighting concerns over age fraud. This issue has plagued Indian football for years, casting a shadow over youth development and fair play in the sport. The letter calls for urgent action to tackle age fraud and protect the integrity of competitions across the country.

Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and others pen open letter to stakeholders of Indian football over 'age fraud' osf
First Published Jun 15, 2024, 7:42 PM IST

Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and a coalition of other Indian football clubs have joined forces to address a long-standing issue that has marred youth development and fair play in the sport: age fraud. In an open letter to stakeholders of Indian football, these clubs have highlighted their concerns and called for immediate action to tackle this pervasive problem.

Age fraud, the act of falsifying a player’s age to compete in a lower age category, has been a persistent issue in Indian football for many years. It not only compromises the integrity of competitions but also undermines the development pathways for genuine young talents. Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and their counterparts have expressed their deep concern over the prevalence of age fraud and its detrimental impact on the sport.

The open letter emphasises the need for stringent measures and regulatory oversight to curb age fraud effectively. It calls on all stakeholders, including the All India Football Federation (AIFF), state associations, and clubs, to collaborate in implementing robust age verification protocols. These protocols are crucial to ensuring that competitions are fair and that young players are given the opportunities they deserve based on their genuine age.

Bengaluru FC’s CEO, along with representatives from FC Goa and other clubs, stated in the letter, “Age fraud not only distorts the youth development pathway but also undermines the credibility of the sport. It is imperative that we take decisive action to restore integrity and fairness in Indian football.”

The issue of age fraud gained renewed attention recently after several instances were reported across various youth tournaments. These incidents have highlighted the urgent need for a coordinated effort to address the problem comprehensively. The clubs are advocating for the introduction of age testing and verification procedures that are consistent and transparent.

The open letter also underscores the clubs’ commitment to supporting legitimate youth development initiatives and fostering a culture of fairness and integrity within Indian football. It calls for collective responsibility in safeguarding the future of the sport and ensuring that players are given the best possible environment to thrive.

As part of their initiative, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and the coalition of clubs are seeking a collaborative approach with the AIFF and other stakeholders to implement effective measures against age fraud. They aim to create a framework that will help prevent instances of age fraud and protect the interests of young footballers across the country.

In conclusion, the open letter serves as a rallying cry for change in Indian football, urging stakeholders to unite in the fight against age fraud. It is a proactive step towards ensuring that the sport upholds its principles of fairness, transparency, and equal opportunity for all players.

Also Read: On This Day: Recalling Cristiano Ronaldo's unforgettable hat-trick against Spain in 2018 World Cup

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