New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed on Tuesday that they have no mechanism in place for dope testing in the Subroto Cup school football tournament.
The 54th edition of the Subroto Cup will see six foreign teams battle it out with their Indian counterparts from Sep 27 to Oct 19 at the Ambedkar Stadium here.
The tournament will have three categories -- U-14 boys, U-17 boys and U-17 girls -- with at least two finals under flood lights for the first time.
"Yes, I concede it has been our failure. We have failed to look into this aspect, which is increasingly becoming a serious issue. We will surely deal with it from the next edition of Subroto Cup," Air Marshal H.B. Rajaram was quoted as saying by TV channels.
In all, 81 schools will be taking part in this year`s edition -- nine more than 2012`s record. The Subroto Cup has a rich tradition and has seen top Indian players like Shyam Thapa, Prashanto Banerjee, Bruno Coutinho and, above all, Bhaichung Bhutia take part in tournament as school children.
Another point of concern for the organisers is the issue of overage players taking part in the tournament.
"We have taken adequate measures to check this practice. We had banned a Nagaland school for fielding overaged boys and two years back, a school team from Afghanistan was barred from participating in the tournament," Air Marshal Rajaram said.
However, without proper equipment for detecting accurate age, the organisers will have to rely on what the doctors say.
"We depend on what the doctors say. If they say he or she is overage, we go by their certificate or assessment."
In the 2012 edition, the trophy was lifted by Ukraine`s Dynamo Kiev Football Club while the centre of attraction this year would be another Ukrainian side Troeshchina.
The team of underprivileged children should start favorites after winning the UNICEF Football Cup in Spain earlier this year. The other five foreign teams would be from Oman, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.