August 20 – In a move to combat age fraud, the Indian FA (AIFF) is introducing an app to build a database of youth players.
The app ‘AIFF Golden Baby League’ aims to curb age fraud by having children registered at the age of six into a database that will help AIFF to maintain an overview of the age of youth players. This would be introduced for any AIFF or I-League academy.
“This (age fraud) is an issue,” I-League CEO Sunando Dhar told the Times of India. “It is an issue for many developing countries. It is a huge problem in India. We want to have control over age cheating. We want to nip it in the bud. It is difficult to fudge your age at the age of six. People mostly fudge their board or school certificates and gain undue advantage.”
Age fraud has long tainted the Indian game. In April players from Aizawl FC, Shillong Lajong, Neroca FC and Minerva Punjab FC failed the TW3 bone age determination test during the U-13 Youth League. In a high-profile case Jamshedpur FC striker Gourav Mukhi (pictured) was suspended for six months in December 2018 for signing as a 16-year-old in the Indian Super League. Mukhi became the youngest ever goal score in the league, but it later emerged that he had been born in April 1999.
Before and during the U-17 World Cup accusations ran against India, who hosted the tournament in 2017, that some squad members were overaged, but those claims were never proven.
“All players are getting registered through the app,” said Dhar. “A kid getting registered at the age of six will get a unique number. There is no way the age can be fudged in the later years. The unique number is like a passport number or an Aadhaar number which doesn’t change every year. It will be much easier for us to track the kid. So, 10 years later, whether he is 16 or still showing his age as 13 will be easily found out. The app will also help us have a greater data base of footballers who are actively playing the sport in the country.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1586424752labto1586424752ofdlr1586424752owedi1586424752sni@o1586424752fni1586424752