Shillong, Aug 25: The Shillong Premier League rule that there be at least one U-18 player in every team’s starting XI is an absolute joke, as was made plain in yesterday’s Langsning-Ryntih match.

SPL clubs have to register a minimum of four U-18 players in their squad for the tournament and field one in the starting XI on match day.

Clubs meet this requirement but often pull out their U-18 player sometime during the first half.

Yesterday, though, we witnessed something quite extraordinary when Ryntih substituted out their U-18 player Dame Banshan Khongsit less than two minutes after kick-off.

This is not to criticise Ryntih for the move – they lived up to the rules, after all. Langsning, for their part, only fielded their U-18 player Ryngkat Ryngksai for around 12 minutes.

The rule itself, however, needs to be reconsidered by the Shillong Sports Association.

Right now it appears to be mere tokenism of promoting youth players. Either teams should have to always have an U-18 player on the pitch or the requirement should be scrapped entirely.

(TSR screenshot)

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