Implementing the ‘3+1’ foreigners rule in the Indian leagues has been a raging debate of late. Former East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan gave his opinion on the rule, with the I-League set to implement the same.

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Executive Committee recently implemented the ‘3+1’ rule in the I-League from the upcoming 2020-21 season. With regards to ISL, the AIFF President Praful Patel recommended that the foreigners rule has to be changed to conform with the AFC standards (3+1 rule). However, he did allow them a bit of leeway and has asked Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) to come up with a plan for foreigners in the next couple of months so that it can be implemented in the 2021-22 season.

Speaking to Goal, the British coach said, “I think they (AIFF) can do that. If you look at all the teams you will see that the spine of those teams – the strikers, two midfielders and centre-backs – have a lot of foreigners and they are the important positions. After that, you just fill into the wide areas.

“So that is holding back Indian players in those positions. It’s very difficult to see a local striker scoring 15 or 20 goals a season. Obviously Sunil Chhetri is an exception, he has done brilliantly. But I can’t think of too many Indian players who have double figures in goals. If players in these positions are not coming up then it affects the national team. It is the same for the centre-backs. So if they lessen the number of foreign players then can get more Indian players.”

Antonio Habas Steve Coppell Kerala Blasters FC FC Pune City ISL season 3 2016

Antonio Habas Steve Coppell Kerala Blasters FC FC Pune City ISL season 3 2016

On asked about the dominance of Spanish coaches in Indian football, Morgan suggested that due to the success of the Spanish national side in the last decade, people tend to think they are superior.

“Everybody thinks that the English coaches try to get the ball out of the full-backs or the centre-backs and then knock it 60, 70 metres up the pitch. Obviously because of Spain’s success in the last 10 years, they are in the job more. It is down to the country’s success. I don’t get that.

“There are so many good coaches out there in the world, not just English coaches. But that’s just the way it is. I think it goes in circles. In my time when we were growing up, there were only Italian coaches because their national team was doing very well, after that there were Brazilian coaches because Brazil was doing well. So it is just a circle.”