This football academy was a Rs 100-crore project launched with fanfare in New Delhi by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Bharti Group in January 2008. Some 18 months later and having travelled two states, work done on this is zero.
The AIFF though hasn't given up but a spokesman for Bharti said they have pulled out "for the time being." AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta said: "Praful Patel (the working president) is going to hold discussions with Bharti authorities to take the project forward." Federation general-secretary Alberto Colaco too said he hadn't heard "anything from them (Bharti) about opting out."
Allotted to Cuncolim in Goa, the academy couldn't take off because of a spat between Goa Football Association (GFA) president and urban development minister Joaquim Alemao and Micky Pacheco, housing minister in the Goa government, over land acquisition. The academy was then shifted to Haryana and though Haryana Football Association secretary Sunil Bhardwaj said “they haven't received anything concrete from the AIFF” a federation source said even there land was a problem.
But that's possibly not all. An AIFF official, who didn't want to be named, accused the federation of “a lack of urgency.” And Savio Messias, the Goa Football Association (GFA) secretary, said: “The GFA was never taken into confidence during the entire process of getting the land for the academy. We were completely unaware of the happenings. The problems could have been sorted out had it (AIFF) handled the matter in the right manner.”
Officials in the Bharti Group refused to comment despite repeated attempts but sources at the corporate house, said: “There were 'internal problems' but both AIFF and Bharti would never like to engage themselves in a blame game.” When contacted, a spokesman of the Group said: “We are focusing on other programmes for the time being.”