AIFF's Coffers Hit Hard as Players Wait in Shanghai
The Indian sports ministry had on Tuesday cleared the football teams' participation in the mega event at no cost to the federation, but delay in getting accreditation from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) meant the AIFF had to cancel the tickets to Incheon for a second time last night, before repeating the process Wednesday.
The All India Football Federation's coffers have been hit hard after it was left with no option but to cancel the air tickets for the men and women teams' journey from Shanghai to the Incheon Asiad three times due to confusion over getting clearance from the government.
The sports ministry had on Tuesday cleared the football teams' participation in the mega event at no cost to the federation, but delay in getting accreditation from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) meant the AIFF had to cancel the tickets to Incheon for a second time last night, before repeating the process Wednesday.
"Can it be called as no cost to the federation now? Three cancellations mean a lot of money and the AIFF is paying for cancellations and re-booking," an official close to the football federation said.
The teams, which were to travel to Incheon on 12th as per the last schedule, will now leave a day later as it was learnt that they would not be allowed in the Games Village before 13th.
"And also, the women's team plays it's first match on 14th September, almost less than 24 hours following their arrival in Incheon," he added.
The Games is slated to be held in the South Korean city from September 9-October 4. The AIFF on Wednesday finally got the accreditation, which also doubles up as visa, for the 45-member group from IOA.
Both the teams had gone for exposure tours to China from here and they were to leave for Incheon on Wednesday as per the original schedule.
Clubbed in Group A alongside hosts South Korea, Maldives and Thailand, the Indian women play their first group league match against Maldives on September 14. The other matches are against South Korea on September 17 and Thailand after a day's break.
The under-23 men, on the other hand, take on the might of last Games' silver medallist UAE in their first group league match on September 15 while their last match in the group is against Jordan on September 22.