Mumbai: Reacting to unconfirmed reports about the Maharashtra U-12 and U-13 team being scratched from the AIFF tournament as some of the players were ‘apparently’ over the age limit, the Western India Football Association has said that the players in doubt have successfully cleared the MRI examination conducted by AIFF and are all eligible to play. WIFA vociferously refuted all age fudging claims stating that the players in Maharashtra U-12 & U-13 team are guilty of age fraud.
WIFA Secretary Souter Vaz said, “It is disheartening to hear such statements. We have taken utmost care to ensure that all our players’ age has been thoroughly checked through age verification documents specified by the AIFF and more by officials of WIFA.
“In addition to this, in a meeting of the player’s parents it was made clear to them the seriousness of age fraud. The parent’s also had to submit an undertaking stating that that the documents submitted by them were true.
“We would also like to bring attention to an incident which occurred last month. Miss. Karishma Vazirani, a Maharashtra player from Mumbai was dropped from the India U-16 camp on grounds of age fraud, despite of having all age verification document with originals.”
Just last year (2011), Karishma Vazirani represented the India Team in the AFC U-14 Girls Tournament in Colombo, passing all age verification criteria of AFC and AIFF successfully. However, this year (2012), it was declared during a camp in Gujarat last month that she was over age to play in AFC U-16.
WIFA CEO Henry Menezes said, “The techniques of age verification need to be fool proof and definitive. Sometimes, talented kids lose out on the opportunity to represent the National team. Not only this but it is absolutely demotivating for them and they end up giving up the sport in totality.
This practice of age fraud is of grave concern for our association and Indian Sport. Not only does it go against the Western India Football Association’s value system, but it is first and foremost an illegal act of criminality that goes against the law which we would never support.”