Sports Ministry 'Relaxes Rules'- Indian Football Teams Headed to The Asian Games

Earlier, the IOA had refused to send the football teams based on their selection criteria.

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In a big reversal of IOA selection policy, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced on 26 July that the men's and women's football teams will be sent for the 2023 Asian Games.

'The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has decided to relax the rules to facilitate participation of both the teams, which were not qualifying as per the existing criterion,' said Sports Minister Anurag Thakur in a tweet announcing the decision.

'Keeping in mind their latest performances in the recent times, the Ministry decided to grant the relaxation. I am sure they will put their best foot forward in the Asian Games and make our country proud,' he added.


Last week, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had reiterated that it would not change its criteria of sending teams to the Asian Games with the policy stating that teams ranked within the top eight sides in Asia would be allowed to participate.

The Indian men's team is ranked 18th in the continent while the women's team is placed 11th.

The Asian Games in Hangzou, China get underway on 23 September and go on till 8 October.

On Wednesday, the IOA had said in a statement: "As we gear up for the highly-anticipated event, the IOA reaffirms its commitment to promoting excellence in sports by strictly adhering to the selection criteria formulated by the Government of India vide their letter dated July 10. The adherence to these norms aims to foster a culture of transparency, meritocracy, and excellence in the Indian sports ecosystem."

The men's team has won two gold medals at the Asian Games, in 1951 and 1962, and a bronze in 1970.

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