Due to Star India's insistence, the National football team's qualification for the Asian Cup has been delayed by a day as the Blue Tigers' match against Macau clashes with the second T20I against Australia. India are just one win away from securing a berth in the tournament for just the fourth time.
The Blue Tigers were scheduled to play Macau in their Group A qualifying match in Bengaluru on October 10 and a win would have sealed their place in the 2019 Asian Cup - the first time since 2011. However, the second T20 in Australia's upcoming limited overs' tour of India is scheduled on the same day, on October 10, in Guwahati. Even though the matches will be played in two different parts of the country, broadcasters Star Sports have been successful in delaying the match, despite currently running eight channels, SD and HD.
Star Sports, who reportedly pay around 43 crores per match to the BCCI, explained in a letter to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that they did not want to ‘dilute’ the reach of the football match, which would find it difficult to attract a lot of attention with a T20 match on at the same time. The AIFF raised the same concern with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and according to the Indian Express, the official reason given was the unavailability of the stadium on the day.
While AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das, refused to confirm if the unavailability of the stadium was indeed their official excuse for the deferral, he did confirm that the broadcasters had requested the change. Das also announced that the change in date had been cleared by the AFC as well.
“It didn’t make sense to clash it with an ODI so the decision was taken to push it forward by the day. The AFC has agreed to it since it does not matter if the match is held on a FIFA-sanctioned date for an international match," Das was quoted saying by Indian Express.
Having beaten Macau 2-0 last week, India
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