On August 14, 2023, the president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kalyan Chaubey, set up a Task Force to examine the viability of evaluating football players who are Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) or Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).
The Task Force will be chaired by the president of the Punjab Football Association, Samir Thapar and will submit its report by January 31, 2024. It is entrusted with assessing the status of young players as well as players competing at a higher level. After consulting with the chairman and the Executive Committee, the AIFF President will announce the additional Task Force members.
In his statement, Mr. Chaubey said that the Task Force’s main goal would be to gather information on football players who are either Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) or Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). He said that it is a source of great pride for them that many of these football players are representing their nations with distinction and have established themselves in the competitive world of professional football.
When asked if the data could be used to contact some of these football players about playing for the Indian National Teams at various levels, Mr. Chaubey responded that they are aware that under the country’s current legal framework, OCIs and PIOs are not permitted to represent India in international sporting events unless they obtain Indian citizenship.
The AIFF President said that they will first create a thorough database on OCI and PIO footballers throughout the world, and then they will search for the best methods to utilise such individuals to advance Indian football.