New Delhi: Five I-League clubs Monday softened their stand and agreed to release footballers for the national team's tour to Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago this month for three internationals.
The clubs fell in line after All India Football Federation (AIFF) executive committee met here Monday under the chairmanship of president Praful Patel and informed the clubs that the federation would take care of their interest.
East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Dempo, Salgaocar and Pune FC had refused to release players for the national team, saying their pre-season preparations for the Federation Cup and I-League would be hampered if the players were released.
The clubs citing FIFA rules said they were not obliged to release players, and pointed out that the August 17, 21 and 24 matches India are scheduled to play during teh tour are not FIFA match dates.
"It is not compulsory to release players for matches scheduled on dates not listed in the coordinated international match calendar," says FIFA Players' Status regulations.
AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta said that after Patel spoke individually to each club officials, they finally relented.
"All the clubs have finally agreed to release players for the national team. We told them that their interest would be taken care of by the AIFF and they readily agreed," said Dutta.
"We told the clubs to solve the matter soon and not drag it to FIFA since this is our internal matter. All the clubs have realised that national interest should get priority and released players," he said.
Dutta also said that former India coach Sukhwinder Singh has been appointed the technical director of Indian Arrows.