Jo Paul Ancheri named Player of the Year

NEW DELHI, DEC 30. Jo Paul Ancheri was on Sunday chosen the Player of the Year by the All India Football Federation at its annual general meeting held at the Nehru Stadium here.

O. Bem Bem of Manipur, with a record of playing competitive football for a decade now, was chosen for the honours in the women's section.

Ancheri, the East Bengal striker, and Bem Bem will receive Rs. fifteen thousand each. The AIFF also put on record the distinguished work of Bentla D'Couth, the first female FIFA referee from India.

Ancheri had perfomed well in the pre-world cup matches and was widely rated the best player from India. ``His commitment to the national and the club team is total,'' said the AIFF Secretary, Mr. Alberto Colaco.

Among the important decisions, the AIFF approved the regulations regarding the status and transfer of players. The regulations will come into force from the new season.

The new rules will seperate the amateurs from the professionals. Teams engaging a professional will henceforth be required to have a written contract with the concerned player. The player will have to undergo fitness and medical tests before finalising the contract.

In what is being considered to be a healthy move, the rules will not allow clubs and insitutions to release a player for a short period. A player will have to be taken on a loan for the entire season.

The AIFF is also taking steps to ensure that it keeps track of the players' age. ``We'll introduce a player's passport which will help us keep track of his age until he retires. We're also planning to compensate the clubs which develop players,'' Mr. Colaco informed.

Mr. Colaco also disclosed that the AIFF had received invitations from overseas. In April, the Indian team may participate in a four-nation tournament in South Africa while efforts were on to organise a four-nation event at home too. The junior tournament, scheduled to be held in January and organised by TATA, had been put off due to financial constraints.

The AIFF also released the calendar for the 2002-2003 season with the second Division National Football League to be held from February 15. The league will be played in three stages.

The under-21 National Championship will be held in April and the Women's National Championship from February 15 in Mandya, Karnataka.

The AIFF has also decided to host two AFC under-17 and under-20 tournaments. The under-17 tournament, with India, Maldives and Bhutan, will be held from May 5 and the under-20 tournament will be held from July 10 with Kyrgistan, Tajikistan and Bhutan being the teams other than India.

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