New Delhi, December 20
Though the curtains have been drawn on the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with Lionel Messi’s Argentina lifting the golden trophy and returning home to a raucous welcome, India’s prolonged absence from the tournament continues to disturb the country’s lawmakers.
Congress MP VK Sreekandan raised the issue in the Lok Sabha through a starred question. He asked whether it is correct that the Blue Tigers have never qualified for the World Cup finals besides the 1950 edition, when the team was invited after a spate of withdrawals. The Sports Ministry, replying on behalf of Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, said: “Yes, India has never played the final round of a senior men’s or women’s World Cup. However, India was invited for the 1950 FIFA World Cup as there were teams that had withdrawn but didn't participate in the edition.”
Sreekandan further quizzed the government about its plans to ensure India qualifies for the major tournament in future.
The ministry clarified that the main responsibility lies with the national federation rather than the government.
“While the primary responsibility for taking effective steps is that of All India Football Federation (AIFF), the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports supplements the efforts of AIFF by way of providing financial assistance to it under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs) for training and participation of India in international tournaments,” it added.
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