The -style football tournament proposed by the All India Football Federation and its commercial arm RIL-IMG has hit a roadblock as the representatives from the I-League clubs failed to reach an agreement over the structure of the event. The clubs are also peeved at the federation for failing to clear dues, and indecision over making the I-League a separate legal entity.
Speaking to HT, after the meeting at Football House, Pune FC’s head of operations Chirag Tanna said that the presentation by AIFF and RIL-IMG over the proposed eight-week tournament failed to reveal any answers while only adding to the questions. “It was a very vague presentation, many reassurances were given without substantiation.
“They (AIFF and RIL-IMG) said the local players, clubs and state associations would benefit from the proposed tournament without revealing how. The presentation felt like someone had just brainstormed and jotted down a broad overview without any thought on how to execute.”
According to the presentation the plan is to bring in one marquee international player who has recently retired for each of proposed teams, besides players from Asian and African clubs and Indian footballers. The tournament will run for eight weeks with franchises across the country. Since the I-League clubs have the best Indian footballers on their rolls, organising the tournament without their involvement would be next to impossible.
Another representative, the majority owner of one of I-League’s newer clubs, said that the clubs’ felt even more shortchanged when their demand for treating the I-League as a separate legal and commercial entity were shot down while simultaneously being told that the proposed tournament would be separate legal entity.
Among other decisions, it was also disclosed that RIL has earmarked land in their township in Baroda to set up a world-class academy.