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Tamil Nadu basketball players for Jammu & Kashmir? BFI President Aadhav Arjuna hints at game-changing move
The announcement was made at the valedictory function of Tamil Nadu Senior State Championship that concluded on October 9 in Chennai
It is now becoming somewhat of a trend to expect surprise announcements whenever BFI President Aadhav Arjuna puts out open letters on his social media or makes public speeches.
For example, among the core Indian basketball community, it is already known that a 3x3 Pro Basketball League is expected within “six months”. (That said, it may still be fresh news to some to learn that each team in this proposed league will include 1 foreign player in addition to three local players.)
No more six-month domicile rule
Mr Arjuna’s latest revelation - made at the valedictory function of the Tamil Nadu Senior State Championship that concluded on October 9 in Chennai - talks about doing away with BFI’s existing six-month domicile rule that mandates a player to remain in a State for six months in order to be eligible to represent that State in the National Championship.
The rule change is expected to come into force at this year’s Senior National Championship to be held in the first week of December.
Why the rule change?
Mr Arjuna’s stated reasons for this rule change includes enabling players who are not selected for their State teams - to still have a chance to play in the National Championship via representing other States. This will give such players an opportunity to continue to remain in contention for a spot in the National team, besides increasing their chances for selection in any future professional leagues.
Another key rationale is to even the playing field and ensure that smaller States with weaker teams can now compete against the traditional powerhouses. (Specifically, Mr Arjuna mentioned States like Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland and Manipur as falling within the former category, while highlighting Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala among the latter States with ‘player surplus’.)
Implications of this rule change
It will be interesting to see if this rule change will be applicable across all age categories or restricted only to the Senior level. If the change is enforced across all age groups - an immediate outcome will be the reversal of last year’s controversial decision banning NBA Academy players from representing any other State apart from Uttar Pradesh.
The question also arises if State teams will be allowed to impose an ‘outside player quota’ restricting the number of non-domiciled players who can be included in the State team. Such a limit may be necessary to protect local talent and ensure their competitive exposure at the national level.
Watch the relevant portion of Mr Aadhav Arjuna’s speech (made in Tamil).