Indian football governing body AIFF called a meeting at a New Delhi hotel of I-League club owners in search of suggestions to lay out a plan for next I-League, but none of their suggestions were accepted instead two committees have been built. In a rare meeting with I-League clubs owners AIFF President Praful Patel said I League clubs are the “backbone” of Indian football but not many were convinced.
The meeting was about to lay out a plan for the future tournament of I-League. Objective about this meeting was to get suggestion from club owners. But, finally all suggestions were ditched and two committees marketing and technical- have been built which will work with all other stakeholder to “build the hype around the league”.
The President Praful Patel referred I-League as the “primary league of the country,” but under the current model the league is shamble. Many clubs have been struggling to manage daily expenditure. Clubs have suggestions many things but that did not yield any result. Chirag Tanna of Pune FC was of the opinion that there should not be any relegation for existing I-League clubs so that they could invest more on infrastructure and youth development. The AIFF, not surprisingly, remained non-committal.
Other club owners, Peter Vaz of Sporting Clube de Goa for example, said the prize money in the I-League should be increased and cash rewards should filter down to the sixth-best team, a demand that Patel listened attentively but did not offer any comment.
“We do not have enough coaches. There are only hundred-odd A-licensed coaches while we need at least a thousand coaches. What is the AIFF doing? Shouldn’t the AIFF be turning its focus on producing more and better coaches,” said another member at the meeting. Another club owner said Indian football was lacking direction, unable to follow any top European league or a country that had taken significant strides in world football.
“Where does it happen that the league gets step-motherly treatment while a ‘tournament’ gets all the importance? Where does it happen that loan rules are tweaked to help not the league but a separate tournament? We raised all these issues but the AIFF remained mum,” said the club owner.
Some members lobbied for the inclusion of Mohammedan Sporting and Churchill Brothers Sports Club in the I-League. Both clubs were left out after their failure to meet the stringent club licensing criteria and Mohammedan Sporting’s popularity all over the country was specifically mentioned. But the AIFF seemed unwilling to entertain any club that fails to meet the club licensing criteria.