The battle is on...With questions being raised as to whether the I-League would be broadcasted this season, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is in the process of evaluating the possible options and a decision is expected soon in a matter of few days with IMG-Reliance being likely to be awarded.
Zee Telefilms have stopped making their regular payments to the AIFF as per the existing deal with the latter in the mode to end the 10 year contract with the former due to not being able to realise the full market potential of Indian football, as alleged by sources.
It is also believed that the AIFF would have to pay a huge sum of money to Zee Telefilms to end the existing contract.
IMG-Reliance are known to be keen to bag the broadcasting and marketing rights and were expected to sign the deal but the move didn’t materialise due to several reasons one of them being the long term MOU (memorandum of understanding) AIFF has with Modi Enterprises being facilitated by a certain CAA Sports to organise a tournament with a few elite English Premier League and I-League clubs in the country.
It is reliably learnt that this MOU was signed without the knowledge of AIFF Executive Committee by a top AIFF official.
CAA Sports, whom former Manchester United and Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon joined last year, have shown their interest in the broadcast and marketing rights of Indian football as is the case with a Japanese sports marketing agency.
A top AIFF official is expected to join CAA Sports if they do manage to get the broadcast rights in India and has been throwing his weight around to get this deal done but even in a meeting held on Wednesday and Thursday earlier this week with CAA representatives, the top brass is not in favour as yet to sign the deal with the American company.
In order to secure his future, it is believed by many that the top AIFF official was keen on sabotaging the possible deal with IMG-Reliance.
The discussion with the company had been initiated around the World Cup 2010 but with only a few days prior to the deal being signed around October second week; the AIFF formed a four member committee, namely Alberto Colaco, Subrata Dutta, Larsing Ming and Hardev Jadeja, to look at the finer aspects.
The AIFF’s financial health has been in tatters and they desperately need the money for the day-to-day functioning of the federation.