iconimg Wednesday, July 08, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, August 01, 2013
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel endorsed the new league being planned by its commercial partners and said clubs were taking pot shots at the federation while doing little to build their own brand equity. According to those present at Thursday’s executive committee meeting of the AIFF, Patel said it was high time the clubs took a look at themselves before criticising the federation.

Patel said it is unfortunate that Indian clubs talk about their history but are unable to come out with a clear revenue model. Clubs struggle to raise even R 10 crore for team building despite being around for over a century and some who are over 50 years old have little or no fan following.

Among those present were Srinivas Dempo and Larsing Ming Sawyan who are AIFF vice-presidents and officials at Dempo and Shilliong Lajong respectively.

Patel also asked IMG Reliance, the AIFF’s commercial partners, to sit with I-League clubs and talk about their new inter-city league. A six-member committee including Ming, Dempo, Subrata Dutta and KMI Mather will represent AIFF at that meeting. The meeting is likely in the next fortnight.

Calling the new league a booster dose for Indian football, Patel said he hoped the I-League and this competition would go hand in hand. The clubs have been asked to cooperate because if the tournament is a success, IMG-Reliance can then be told to plough some of the surplus into the existing competitions such as the I-League.

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An AIFF official termed IMG Reliance’s presentation as “they spoke a lot but said little.” The official requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media. The presentation mentioned Trevor Morgan would coach players signed so far for the league. Former India goalie Debasish Mukherjee, also India No.1 shot-stopper Subrata Pal’s father-in-law, was named goalkeepers’ coach.IMG Reliance would try and loan these players to I-League clubs, it was learnt. Names of the marquee players would be announced in September.