The Tata Football Academy in Jamshedpur has supplied several quality players but the institution is now reluctant to groom talent just to allow top clubs snatch them from its stables.
The Academy, set up in the late 1980s, has done yeoman service to Indian football providing players such as Carlton Chapman, Godfrey Pereira, Dipendu Biswas, Renedy Singh, Mahesh Gawli, Clifford Miranda, Gourmangi Singh, Syed Rahim Nabi and Subrata Paul.
Clubs constantly keep in touch with the academy's top brass to keep track of the promising youngsters coming out of it.
But TFA coach Ranjan Chowdhury thinks the philanthropic attitude needs to change.
"Nothing good in life comes free. If we develop players and the clubs take them away just like that, it will be difficult for the academy to sustain itself," he said.
He is considering having a contract with one particular club to act as a feeder of upcoming talent.
"Otherwise, if I fail to provide players to one club and not to another, I may not be too popular," Chowdhury, who possesses a trainer's diploma from the German Football Federation, said.
He is here at the India finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup to spot talented youngsters for his academy.
The Tata Football Academy, conceived in 1983 and inaugurated in 1987, was started with the basic objective to provide a pool of players trained at the international standards.
The youngsters are selected from various grassroot level tournaments - the U-14 schools competition, Subroto Cup and contests run by Sports Authority of India.
They are trained for four years and graduate at the expiry of a conditional contract.
The fully-residential academy also takes care of the youngsters' educational and vocational training requirements.
The players are also sent to sports institutes abroad for advanced training and overseas experts also come to Jamshedpur to provide valuable inputs.
The academy has been a regular feature at the Durand Cup. It also won the second division National Football League title in Bangalore but did not enter the top flight as it did not want to change its academy status.