The CEO of Churchill Brothers has once again voiced her criticism and expressed pessimism at the IMG-Reliance’s League model...Valanka Alemao often makes it a point to have her opinion heard as the CEO of Churchill Brothers. It is in this capacity that she echoed her displeasure at the dictum issued by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) who, according to her, seem to cater to the whims and fancies of IMG-Reliance.
Always a staunch critic of the new proposed league, she believes that no league should have precedent over the I-League and that the AIFF have to back their own and not moot another model.
“Why do we need another league when you can’t sustain the present league? The motto should be to improve the standard of Indian football more than anything else, and to improve the I-League. But how would you bring in something new and you want to create a new entity and tell us to shut shop in 3 years like Mahindra, then sorry it won’t work,” she said in a studio debate on NDTV, a leading Indian news channel.
"If the federation is saying we are unable to get the sponsorship, and we see in Europe they have separate corporate entities who run the league, why not do the same in India. You should run the existing league and make it grow better and concentrate on youth development,” was her opinion on the proposition of how the present condition of the I-League could be improved.
She stated that the concept of organising an IPL-style league is something which doesn’t exist in world football.
“But at this point of time, and we have been given an AFC criteria to follow, and youth development is prime concern. By creating an image that the fate of I-League is unknown and I don’t think such a tournament (IMG-Reliance’s new league) is played anywhere in the world,” she added.
On being asked if the I-League’s woes could be solved with the interjection of a new sponsor she chimed, “Of course that’s why you should get the sponsor, why start from scratch when the I-League already has the infrastructure and fan following.”
"But this league (IMG-R) has created division between players and club and it has created a bad situation,” was her resolute stand on the issue.
She lamented the present state of Indian football and fired the following stricture at the lack of effort to improve it.
"I want to know where Indian football is going if retired players are going to come and play and grab eyeballs for a minute. Why aren’t Bhaichung (Bhutia) and (Sunil) Chhetri household names? The goal should be to improvise Indian football.”
“I come from a sport loving family and it’s high time. Why don’t the corporate tie up with the existing clubs and improvise. We have No grudge against the AIFF or the players. But why are we 146 (in FIFA rankings)? Why you don’t improvise the current standard of the I-League and if the AIFF can’t run it, then why not create a separate corporate entity which can help grab eyeballs,” was her final say on the matter galvanizing public opinion.
She also mentioned that the AIFF has yet to share the details of their contract with IMG-Reliance.