HomeFootballImpact of 3+1 foreign player rule in I-League

Impact of 3+1 foreign player rule in I-League

- Advertisement -

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had announced that the 2020-21 I-League season would see the return of the traditional AFC rule, which allows a maximum of four foreigners in the roster, including a signing from an AFC-affiliated nation.

The Apex body has also asked the Indian Super League (ISL) to implement the same rule from the 2021-22 season.

- Advertisement -

For the 2019-20 season, I-League clubs could sign up to six foreigners, with five of them allowed on the pitch at any given time during a game. The return of the 3+1 foreigner rule will have their pros and cons, so let’s straight get into it.

A larger Indian player pool

The Indian national team coach, Igor Stimac has been stressing on the need of formalizing a more extensive national team pool.

He is one of the primary advocates for the reduction of foreigners in the I-League and the Indian Super League.

Lesser number of foreigners will allow Indian players to get their chances and use the increased game-time to their benefit.

Indian players will primarily profit from this move, especially when it comes to opportunities and prospects in the first team.

Indian forwards will get their chances

Only a single Indian name managed to feature in the top 10 goalscorers’ list in I-League 2019-20. Rochharzela (Aizawl FC), who primarily plays as an attacking midfielder behind the forwards, managed to finish in 10th position on the scoring charts with six goals in the season.


The dependency on foreign strikers to notch up goals has been a deterrent against Indian strikers managing to get primary roles on the pitch.

The systematic ignorance of Indians in attacking roles has resulted in a depleted player pool of India with limited striking options.

The reduction in foreigners in I-League will allow the clubs to believe in their Indian striking options, which would be beneficial for the Indian football player pool on the longer run.

Versatile team building coupled with a larger budget

Reducing the count of foreigners in the squad will allow teams to spend maturely and discreetly on the Indian roster.

An average top-notch overseas signing cost around INR 50-60 lakhs per season in the I-League.

With the larger player pool available courtesy the dual-league system, clubs will be able to get a wide range of Indian players with the extra budget in their kitty.

The average salary of a foreigner is slated to increase, forcing clubs to look for options in positions that would provide a considerable amount of tactical superiority and versatility.

Clubs are likely to focus on value-laden overseas signings with a more significant average overseas budget.

Possible drop in quality

It is a no brainer that Indian footballers are not at par with the foreigners who ply their trade in India.

Most Indian players lack fundamental basics, technicalities, and nuances when dealing with the ball on their feet.

I-League clubs had their initial jump in foreigners in the 2017-18 season to five in the squad after the top clubs in the division demanded a level-playing field with the Indian Super League clubs.

The spike in the quality was evident when teams from the I-League stunned quite a few ISL sides in the inaugural edition of the Super Cup.

The reduction of foreigners will result in Indian footballers missing out on the presence of sturdier and technically gifted foreigners on the field and may not be able to inculcate certain valuable skills.

Adaptability in Asia

After the likes of East Bengal and Dempo SC reaching the AFC Cup semi-finals, followed by Bengaluru FC finishing as runners-up, Indian clubs were expected to continue the consistency and dominance in the continental competition.

However, the increase in foreigners never allowed the Indian clubs to switch strategically and tactically to a 3+1 setup from a five foreigner I-League setup.

Clubs could not adjust to continuous changes in the line-ups as the domestic league, and Asian club competitions continued to happen simultaneously, resulting in a spree of disappointing results, with Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab failing to even get out of the group stages, while both Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC exited the competition in the qualifiers.

The abrupt fall in performance in continental competitions showed how exactly the high number of foreigners in domestic football influenced the style of play and tactics for the same I-League sides in Asia.

Also Read: Bundesliga 2019-20: Season Review and Key Stats

- Advertisement -

15 Highly Educated Cricketers Of All Time

Cricket is a game of passion and dedication. A sport in which one involves themselves in camps and practice since early childhood. Due to...

Do we often under-appreciate Andy Flower? What’s his legacy?

There's a hint of sadness in noting that Zimbabwe has never been a dominant power in world cricket. But nothing could be sadder than...

Why are more and more MotoGP riders using the Noson nasal dilator?

Introduction MotoGP riders or athletes are physically fit and healthy individuals and their muscles are continuously functioning and used during the performance. As a fan...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent...

5 spinners who can be India’s potential finger-spinners

The Indian cricket team has always been proud of its ability to produce world-class batsmen and similarly potent spinners. Though in recent times, the...

IPL 2018: The beautiful Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Being seated in the Sawai Mansingh stadium brings a different world, a world of difference away from the palpable excitement of watching truly India’s...

Top 5 Left Wingers In The World, Based On 2019-20 Season

Owing to the fact that football has evolved a lot since its inception and the tactics have changed a lot, the role of wingers...

The astonishing decline of Mario Balotelli

There was a time when Mario Balotelli was on top of the world.  The Italian talisman had scored two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-finals,...

What can be expected from the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

Heat in the air and heat inside the car- that's been the story of the Azerbaijan Grand prix. As F1 parks itself at Baku...

How Suresh Raina Batted India Into The Finals of 2011 World Cup

Its been 9 years, since India won the Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka on 2 April, 2011. The images and visuals of...

IPL 2018: The best from the West Indies

When one of nature's treacherous attacks on mankind- earthquakes- strike, their impact is measured on Richter's scale. When West Indians strike in a tournament...

Ajax XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club...

Age Fraud in Indian Cricket: Are players really to be blamed?

There have been times while watching a cricket match when we tend to hear commentators comment on cricketers’ age. We as fans have many...

Big change for India Women’s cricket as BCCI looks to finalise bowling coach soon

We are not even at the halfway stage of the 2018 cricketing season. It clearly seems there's no stopping India's women's cricket team. The...

5 famous players to play for both Leeds United and Liverpool

Leeds United are back in the Premier League after 16 years and will play Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday in their very first match...

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -