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Eight I-League clubs fail AFC criteria

Only six of the 14 I-League teams fulfilled club licensing criteria laid down by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Among those who haven't are Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Indians football's oldest and most successful clubs. Tomojit Basu reports

sports Updated: Nov 02, 2010 23:42 IST
Tomojit Basu

Only six of the 14 I-League teams fulfilled club licensing criteria laid down by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Among those who haven't are Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Indians football's oldest and most successful clubs.

As things stand now, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal won't be allowed to take part in the I-League next season. The reason: they have in Vijay Mallya a common director.

Reigning champions Dempo, Churchill Brothers, JCT, Pune FC, Mumbai FC and Chirag United have met the criteria.

This was among the decisions taken by the six-member AFC delegation, which following an inspection of the facilities at clubs and the stadia available, met representatives of the 14 League clubs here on Tuesday. That Indian football's infrastructure is below par too was conveyed by the delegation including Tokuaki Suzuki (Director of competitions) and Maksat Glychmamedov (Development Manager for professional football).

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said: "None of the stadiums in India fit the A-class criteria although Pune comes close. The Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata can be provisionally certified but on the whole, the team was not satisfied with what they saw."

"While some clubs have been cleared, there are a few who remain in the red zone. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, for example, have not been given the clearance as they have a common director in Vijay Mallya," said the Chief Operating Officer of the League.

The fact that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), promoted to the League this season, Air India and ONGC are PSUs (Public Sector Units) too needs to be addressed before the 2011-12 season, Dhar said.

Asked by Hindustan Times as to what has been decided for the under-19 AIFF XI side based in New Delhi and which will play in this League, Dhar said: "Well, they don't conform to quite a few of the norms. However, since it is a special case, a professional ad-hoc committee will look into the report submitted by the delegation who added that if the clubs themselves put in place effective training programs for youth development, the AIFF XI side would not be required.” That committee headed by AFC Mohamed bin Hammam with AIFF president Praful Patel as vice-president will next meet in Kuala Lumpur on November 26.

Chirag set up semis date with East Bengal

Josimar Martins made up for his bungled penalty against Pune FC with a hattrick to help Chirag United thrash Indian Air Force 5-0 at the Durand Cup here on Tuesday, to play East Bengal on Thursday in an all-Kolkata semifinal.