The Sports Ministry on Saturday informed the Gokulam Kerala FC to return from Uzbekistan as they won’t be able to participate in the AFC Women’s Club Championship due to AIFF’s suspension.
The club is looking for flight options to leave today.
The world football governing body FIFA had suspended India for “undue influence from third parties” and said the U-17 Women’s World Cup “cannot currently be held in India as planned”
23 women team players of Gokulam Kerala FC are stranded at Tashkent now of no fault of ours. We request urgent intervention by @PMOIndia @ianuragthakur @Anurag_Office @narendramodi for us to participate in the AFC. pic.twitter.com/ltiM81XE5q
— Gokulam Kerala FC (@GokulamKeralaFC) August 17, 2022
The women’s team was scheduled to compete against a team from Iran on August 23 and one from the host nation on August 26 in Qarshi, while ATK Mohun Bagan is slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 (Inter-Zone semifinals) on September 7 in Bahrain.
Desperate for a solution, the Gokulam Kerala team management reached out to the sports ministry on Wednesday afternoon, seeking their intervention.
On Friday, the ministry wrote an email to FIFA and AFC, apprising them of the fact that Gokulam Kerala was already in Uzbekistan when FIFA’s suspension of AIFF was announced.
“It has requested FIFA and AFC to therefore consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women’s Club Championship (West region) in the interest of the young players,” the Ministry had said in a release.
Stranded in Uzbekistan, Gokulam Kerala had requested the prime minister to help. Gokulam Kerala had issued a statement on Twitter, a letter addressed to the prime minister.
“… Our Prime Minister’s dream is to make India a super power and become No.1 in the world. In a small way our club is spearheading the effort to bring women football in India … hence we again humbly request your good offices to intervene.