Following their relegation into the second division I-League at the end of last season, JCT management did the obvious by deciding to disband…In an exclusive interview to Goal.com earlier this month, JCT’s managing director, Samir Thapar hinted of the club’s future by stating that they shall continue with their famed academy but shall mull over the prospect of running a professional football club in an otherwise unprofessional environment.
In a release sent to the media on Monday afternoon, it was informed that the club shall no longer be in existence.
“JCT Limited has taken a strategic decision to pull out for the time being till football in India shows some possibility of generating value for corporates and their brands, besides bringing up popularity of football among youngsters. JCT Limited being a corporate, needs to justify to its stakeholders the effort Vs visibility of the Football Team
“JCT won the inaugural Football League in 1996, where there was high quality TV exposure and widespread public interest. But since then the League has had negligible exposure and the teams have been going almost unnoticed.”
Thapar had vented his frustration over the manner in which the game was being run in the country and pointed that lack of eyeballs and increasing costs are detrimental for a public limited company like JCT who have an explanation to give for their investments.
“You need the kind of exposure, the viewership. You have got to rationalize whether it’s worth spending and it doesn’t make any economic sense. If all the matches are shown on TV and there is some mileage, then spending even four crores is justifiable.
“I would rather spend on other sports otherwise. How many do know that an Indian League exists in the first place apart from sports lovers like you and me,” questioned Thapar.
“We hope the AIFF runs it well and I am hearing that with IMG-Reliance, possibly they might make I-League a success.
“If not then we will look at things and maybe continue running this way. As far as shutting down is concerned, I can’t comment on it but I don’t think so we might,” mentioned the former Executive Vice-President of the Asian Body Building Association.
As Mahindra United had decided to pull out of competitive football and continue to remain engaged by launching the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge with an exclusive tie-up with Celtic, the JCT Group shall continue their commitment towards the game by focusing on their academy which is known to produce bright talents.
“JCT's football team was formed in 1971 and since then JCT has worked hard and invested in working at grass-root level in Punjab and building a top class team.
"Mr Samir Thapar, as president of Punjab Football Association will continue to work with passion for strengthening the sport of football at grass-root level in Punjab and also through JCT Football Academy continue to find and train youngsters for tomorrow as the academy has been grooming champions for JCT and almost all football clubs of Indian football."
Thapar is an avid sports lover and represented the country in shooting back in the 1991 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand and was a former rally driver too.