Regulatory policy

Should the Indian Super League revise its 3+1 foreign player policy?

Ahead of the 2021-22 season, the Indian Super League (ISL) decided to introduce the 3+1 foreign player rule to boost the participation of local players. The regulations virtually prohibit ISL franchises from signing too many players from outside India.

The rule was approved in the summer of 2021, with the current ISL season being the first in effect. It remains to be seen whether the regulations will remain in future seasons.

The 3+1 rule explained:

From the 2021-22 season, Indian football clubs are allowed to have no more than six foreign players on the roster. Players can be from any part of the world, as long as one of them holds a passport from an Asian or Australian country.

However, not everyone can be in the field at the same time. The reason the rule is called the “3+1 rule” is that a team can have three non-Asian players on the field, as well as one foreign player who holds a passport issued by a member country of the Confederation asian football.

In the current season, most IPL foreigners are Spanish nationals. They are 16 to play in seven different Indian clubs. The second nation on the list is Brazil with a total of 10 players.

When it comes to players from AFC affiliated nations, the majority of them are Australian. In fact, seven of the ISL’s 11 clubs have signed an Australian player for the AFC job.

The 3+1 regulation on foreign players has been adopted by the ISL in accordance with the rules of the Asian Football Confederation. Similar policies have been used by other football associations across the continent. Some countries still adhere to the policies, while others, like Japan, have decided to drop the rule.

How are foreigners doing in 2021-22 ISL?

As of this writing, the top six scorers in the ISL 2021-22 are foreigners and five of them are over 30 years old. In fact, the two top scorers – Bartholomew Ogbeche (Nigeria) and Igor Angulo (Spain) – are 37 years old. year.

Arguably, India’s top flight is not an attractive destination for footballers in their prime, which means that even if the federation changes its rules, it would cause a revolution in the league.

Still, federations in some other Asian countries decided not to uphold the rule, which may have served them well. The best example is Japan, whose J1 League have signed a number of great players since the controversial settlement was dropped.

Japan J1 league experiences?

Football in Japan is currently going through something of a resurrection. Its popularity continues to grow and many believe the reason is the decision to reopen the J1 League to foreign players.

The league has a long and successful history of hiring foreign players. In the 1990s, Japanese top club Nagoya Grampus had European soccer superstars on their roster like Gary Lineker and Dragan Stojkovic Piksi.

However, league rules prohibited Japanese teams from signing more than four foreign players, one of whom would be from an AFC country. As a result, the Japanese J1 League lost its appeal to foreigners, which may explain why in the early 2000s Japanese teams were not having much success internationally.

For example, from the year 2000 to 2008, no Japanese club won the AFC Champions League. Their resurrection started in the 2010s and is expected to continue in the future, especially for the fact that the Japanese FA decided to get rid of the foreign player rule.

From 2019, Japanese clubs have the freedom to sign as many foreign players as they wish. Since then, several players from Europe and South America have decided to settle in Japan, including some true football legends. The best example is former Barcelona midfielder and 2010 World Cup winner with Spain, Andreas Iniesta.

What is the next step for the ISL and its rules for foreign players?

Allowing J-League clubs to sign as many foreign players as they want has certainly made the league more interesting. However, there is still debate over whether the decision will negatively impact homegrown talent development.

This is exactly the main reason why the Football Association of India went for the 3-1 rule. In fact, an ISL spokesperson called the rule “a positive and welcome step that will benefit our Indian players immensely.” If they are right, only time will tell.

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Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022, 3:14 PM IST