CHENNAI: There will be a lot of voices and quite a few demands being bandied about on Wednesday at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Adding to the list will be the presence of Football Players Association of India (FPAI). The body, which came into existence in 2006, will be represented by president Renedy Singh and former president and current AIFF technical advisor Bhaichung Bhutia.
Their main demand will be the employment of players.
“There are a lot of unemployed players. We want to create more opportunities for our players. The only way is to have two leagues running simultaneously or have a single league with a longer duration,” Renedy told Express from Kuala Lumpur.
FPAI held a meeting with quite a few players in Kolkata on Monday where a variety of topics came up for discussion. The number of Indian players in the playing eleven for ISL clubs was another bone of contention that is also likely to be raised.
“More Indian players should be included in the playing XI. The ISL is after all meant to improve Indian football. Currently six foreigners are included in the team. The number should be reduced and that point will be forwarded during the meeting,” FPAI general manager Cyrus Confectioner added. The meeting was attended by the likes of Mehtab Hossain, N Mohanraj and Alvito D'Cunha among others.
The FPAI have been asking the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) about the reduction for some time now and they have gotten no response till now.
Among other topics that might be raised is the issue of a salary cap and the draft. The minimum wage for Indian players is not defined in the ISL which proves to be a deterrent for quite a few Indian players.
“We want a structure in place where payment is done on merit. Players should earn at par, if not more than foreign players. And I'm not talking about marquees,” Confectioner added.
Since FPAI, registered under the Society's Act, is not recognised by the AIFF, the question arises how they got into such an important meeting where the roadmap of Indian football is set to be decided.
“We were pushing to be a part of the meeting since it concerns our players. FSDL asked AIFF to inform us. They didn't tell us anything themselves. Since all stakeholders were involved, AIFF invited us,” Confectioner added.
The body remains under the aegis of International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro), the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional footballers.