KOLKATA: 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 matches for the country.
The 37-year-old Chhetri’s retirement has been a matter of speculation for some time now. “No matter what is happening on that front, I hope it is under control and the country does not get a ban,” iconic India captain Chhetri said during a media interaction ahead of the Asian Cup Qualifiers final round beginning here on June 8.
“That will be catastrophic not only for the whole country but also for me, because I am 37. I am playing my last games. You never know when there is a last game for you. So yes... I was scared when the headlines came, it affects you. But with my limited knowledge, when you go into it, you understand it is not that dangerous and things will subside,” added Chhetri.
Patel was thrown out of office by the Supreme Court in a May 18 ruling as he has exceeded his tenure as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president. His third term in office was to end in December 2020 but he clung on to a SC case, which remained 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 are 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 the 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.
No matter what is happening on that front (SC ruling to oust AIFF prez Patel), I hope it is under control and the country does not get a ban Sunil Chhetri, India captain.