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Seven months gone, football yet to find takers

sports Updated: Jul 27, 2013 01:19 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times
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It’s been seven months since Panasonic India’s two-year deal with the India football team ended. But the marketing partner of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is yet to rope in a new sponsor. So the AIFF has now joined the search despite having no marketing department of its own.

An AIFF official told HT on Thursday that its hand has been forced because since December 31, 2012, when the $1 million (Rs 5.8 crore now) per year deal ended, its marketing partner hasn’t been able to even set up a meeting with a prospective client. The official requested anonymity given the sensitive nature of the subject.

Backs to the wall
A spokesperson for IMG-Reliance, the AIFF’s marketing partners, however, replied to an email from HT on Thursday, saying: “IMG-Reliance is working with a host of companies for the sponsorship of senior team and we will be making an announcement over the next few weeks.”

India played the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar last March without a sponsor and with less than one month for its friendly against Tajikistan (August 14), the AIFF has approached public sector units to try and ink a new deal. India also play the SAFF Cup in Kathmandu in September.

“The AIFF has sent detailed proposals to PSUs for a two to three year contract. We have had meetings and are waiting to hear from them,” the AIFF official said. Federation general secretary Kushal Das confirmed this.

But because there’s been such a lag in replacing the previous sponsor, the AIFF may have to make do with an amount significantly less than what it got till the last fiscal. It doesn’t help India’s case that the sponsor’s logo can’t be branded on national team shirts worldwide.

The old sponsorship deal had been signed before AIFF roped in IMG-Reliance as its marketing partner. According to IMG’s website, this 15-year contract with AIFF “grants IMG Reliance all commercial rights to football across all football properties controlled by AIFF including but not limited to the national teams and all current and future professional leagues. Such rights include media rights, sponsorship and advertising rights, licensing and merchandising rights, franchise rights, new league rights and any other commercial rights attached to any of these properties.”