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Fifa rule puts paid to FC Kochi's hopes

May 9, 1997 

Indian Express 
NEW DELHI, May 8: Whatever little hopes FC Kochi may have had regarding their participation in the forthcoming Kalyani Black Label Football Federation Cup, were dashed today by the All-India Football Federation President, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi. He categorically stated that allowing FC Kochi or any other newly-formed club to play in the tournament was not possible under the present structure. 

Dasmunshi said that the federation had asked FIFA for its opinion on the issue and the world body said very clearly: ``Newly-created clubs should only be allowed to compete first in the lowest level leagues for which its players are eligible, and are in no way to be given an exception, allowing them to immediately compete at the higher level.'' 

Armed with Fifa's opinion Dasmunshi said the club will have to come to such tournaments through proper channel, which in other words means they will have to start from the lowest division. ``It is not like we are isolating them or singling them out but a rule has to be followed. The question is whether we go by a team's standings or merely the players it has,'' Dasmunshi explained. ``We advised Kerala Football Association that the club is totally new and without any exposure. They should start playing from the lower division to have at least some kind of backing. Allowing them to play (in the Federation Cup) will destroy the age-old structure of the Federation Cup,'' he added. 

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