In an emotional appeal as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) recommended that junior India international Anwar Ali 'should be restricted from competitive sports activity' because of a congenital heart condition, Ali, in a social media post, said, "Please don't take football away from me, I won't survive."
"Football is everything for me. I don't know anything else. Football has given me a lot," Ali added.
Dato Gurucharan Singh, the chairman of AFC's medical commission had warned that the footballer's condition could aggravate if he continued to play competitive football, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said, according to The Indian Express.
To take a final call on the issue, the AIFF has called for a meeting of its Emergency Committee. Meanwhile, Ali's club, Mohammedan Sporting, has said that they will not register Ali's name for the I-League qualifiers starting next month.
"The AFC has warned that the condition Anwar is suffering can cause cardiac arrest and hence, they have recommended these players should be restricted from competitive sports activity. Anwar can, however, play the sport as a leisure activity as the level of exertion will be less," the AIFF official was quoted as saying by the media.
"This is the same observation the AIFF's medical commission and leading doctors in India made as well. We have now called a meeting of the Emergency Committee to take a decision," the official added.
However, in his appeal, the 20-year-old Ali said that after a check-up his doctor had told him that his condition was "low risk".
"When a soldier goes for a war, his life is always in danger. But that doesn't mean he will get scared and not go for a war. Similarly, this game is also a battlefield for me. Risk is everywhere but I can't stop playing thinking that something might happen to me. Leaving the game is nothing short of a death sentence for me," Ali said.
Meanwhile, the official said that the defender has requested to make a personal representation in front of the AIFF to plead his case.
Earlier this month, Ali, who was a part of the Indian team that played in the 2017 under-17 World Cup, had also made an emotional appeal to the AIFF in a letter.
"If I wish to take an informed risk and am ready to monitor my condition with the help of medical experts, then it is ultimately my choice whether I wish to take the risk of playing football professionally," he had said.
After getting diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy last October, Ali was advised by medical experts to stop playing football and he had terminated his contract with Indian Super League side Mumbai City with mutual agreement.