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AIFF at loggerheads with I-League clubs

I-League clubs refused to sign the mandatory Asian Football Confederation (AFC) licensing criteria.

test sharma | IANS

Updated:February 21, 2012, 8:27 PM IST
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AIFF at loggerheads with I-League clubs
I-League clubs refused to sign the mandatory Asian Football Confederation (AFC) licensing criteria.

New Delhi: I-League clubs declared war on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday by refusing to sign the mandatory Asian Football Confederation (AFC) licensing criteria unless their demands were addressed by the federation.

All the I-League clubs, except Pailan Arrows and HAL, met AIFF and its marketing partner IMG-Reliance here and demanded that the licensing criteria should only be implemented when the federation follows the AFC guidelines of having the I-League as a separate entity.

"We made few demands and have refused to sign the AFC licensing criteria until our problems are addressed by the AIFF. We want the I-League to be a separate entity as per AFC guidelines and also want clubs to be a stakeholder in the I-League body. We have also demanded a share of revenue," Pune FC's head of operations Chirag Tanna told IANS.

Mohun Bagan official Debashish Dutta said that since clubs spent a huge amount of money every year to raise teams, they should also be a stakeholders in the I-League body.

"We have demanded a separate entity for the I-League as per the AFC criteria. Clubs are spending close to Rs 150 crore every season to raise their teams and they should have a say in running the league," he added.

The club officials were unhappy that IMG-Reliance had done little to promote the league. IMG-Reliance in 2010 had bought the marketing and telecast rights of the AIFF for Rs 700 crore, one of the most lucrative deals in Indian sports, for 15 years.

AIFF officials remained incommunicado but the clubs have been promised that IMG-Reliance will get back to them by next Monday with a plan to overhaul the I-League on the lines of America's Major League Soccer (MLS) from the 2012-2013 season.

The AIFF is planning to make the league more entertaining and attract more eyeballs. The cash-rich league is expected to be a two-tier championship involving 16 teams.

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