Kerala Blasters’ Karolis Skinkys: Changes to foreign player policy should be gradual

Kerala Blasters sporting director has said that young players at the club will train and play abroad soon…

Kerala Blasters sporting director Karolis Skinkys believes changes to the foreign player policy in the Indian Super League (ISL) should be a gradual process. 

As reported earlier , after the recommendation of the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee and the ratification of the Executive Committee regarding the ‘3+1′ rule, ISL clubs had agreed for a reduction in foreign players’ from the 2021-22 season. The decision was in line with the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) guideline of including a maximum of four foreigners in the starting lineup out of which one player should be from Asia. 

Though the number of foreigners in the starting XI is set to be brought down, the compulsory inclusion of the Asian foreigner in the starting XI is syet to be agreed upon.

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In an exclusive chat with Goal. Skinkys said, “To be honest, this (foreign) policy has two sides. I agree with the argument that domestic players will get more games with fewer foreigners. However, it is equally important for them to have a competitive environment to grow and learn.”

Karolis Skinkys Kerala Blasters

He continued, “The goal should always be to ensure greater development of Indian players who can compete with and against the best. All things considered, we are in line with the vision of AFC but any change should be a gradual process as opposed to a sudden transition.”

During a meeting held a few weeks ago, most of the clubs in ISL agreed to the recommendation of fielding a maximum of four overseas players at any given point of time on the pitch from 2021-22 season. But there are still some differences in opinion on the number of maximum foreigners that could be registered in the squad. While some want the teams to register five foreign players, a few want the number to be increased to seven.

There have been suggestions on not making it mandatory for the Asian foreigner to be in the playing XI as well. In the last two seasons, the ISL clubs were allowed to sign a maximum of seven and a minimum of six foreign players and could field at most five foreigners on the field. 

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