'It will be catastrophic': Sunil Chhetri on FIFA's ban on India

PTIUpdated: Friday, June 03, 2022, 07:10 PM IST
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Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri | AFP Photo

Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri on Friday dropped yet another hint that his retirement is not far away, saying a FIFA ban on India in the aftermath of Supreme Court's ruling to oust Praful Patel as AIFF president would be catastrophic as he is playing his "last games".

The 37-year-old Chhetri's retirement has been a matter of speculation for some time now and he has said on many occasions that his illustrious career will come to an end soon.

"No matter what is happening on that front, I hope it is under control and the country does not get a ban," the iconic India captain said during a media interaction ahead of the Asian Cup qualifiers final round beginning here on June 8.

"Because, that will be catastrophic, not just for the whole country but for me, because I'm 37. I'm playing my last games. You never know when it will be your last game.

"So yes... I was scared when the headlines came, it affects you. But with my limited knowledge, when you go into it, you understand that it is not that dangerous and things will subside," he added.

Patel was thrown out of office by the Supreme Court in a May 18 ruling as he has exceeded his tenure as All India Football Federation President. His third term in office was to end in December 2020 but he clung on to a SC case, which is pending since 2017, to extend his executive committee's term while refusing to hold elections till the issue of a new constitution was settled by the top court.

There were fears in some quarters that the SC ruling could lead to FIFA imposing a ban on India and stripping the country off the hosting rights of Under-17 Women's World Cup in October. A joint team from FIFA and AFC is slated to visit India to "understand the current situation".

Chhetri made his international comeback after more than six months of injury lay-off during India's 0-2 defeat against Jordan in Doha on May 29, their last preparatory outing ahead of the Asian Cup Qualifiers.

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