The decision from JCT to shut shutters was certainly not unexpected given that Samir Thapar, the club’s managing director, had exclusively told Goal.com of his plans to continue with the academy and the team’s future being up in the air given the ineffective way of running the I-League as the primary reason.
Sunando Dhar, the I-League CEO, has had to deal with tough moments in his short spell at the office with two major corporate entities in Mahindra and JCT deciding to opt out of investing in the game.
“The decision is their own and we are very disappointed. Obviously getting relegated was a huge set-back for them.
“I thought they would stick around. Salgaocar got relegated a couple of seasons back and they came back and won the league this year. Relegation is definitely not the end of the world.
“Once I get back to office, I shall speak to our president (Praful Patel) and general secretary (Kushal Das) and ask them to have a word with Mr.Thapar,” opined Dhar.
AIFF signed a deal with IMG-Reliance last year in what was considered by many as a beginning of a better future. However that hasn’t stopped clubs from questioning the sellability of the I-League.
“With IMG-Reliance coming in, I thought they would decide to be around. It’s just been a little over six months since they have come in which was in the middle of the season and hence a national broadcaster couldn’t be roped in. Though that was a set-back for the league, I’m sure that with India U-23’s match against Qatar being shown LIVE is certainly a sign of positive things to come.
“It’s not just about the television coverage but about the packaging and positioning. I would say its unfortunate that JCT decided to shut down,” Dhar said.