Things seem to be going rapidly from green to grey for the All India Football Federation (AIFF). Bangalore based side and new entrants into the I-League tier Two last term, South United, have unflinchingly blamed the AIFF for their decision to withdraw from participation in the I-League Division 2, to which they were participants, in light of the federation's decision to end financial support to the clubs lower than Division One.
Following the decision Lokknath R Char, a former swimmer turned CEO of the club, reasoned that participating in the I-League does not add value to his side and this concreted his decision to pull out.
“I want to make it clear that South United is not shutting down. This is a conscious call on the use of funds. The choice was whether to use the money to play in I-League, where we get little or no contribution from football’s godfathers, or to use it to get more and more kids playing. I’ve made my stand clear to the players. Some of them are keen on leaving the club and I hear they are getting very good offers,” Char was quoted saying in The Times of India.
“The decision is also due to a lack of support from AIFF. There is absolutely no contribution from them. They have stopped all subsidies. I got offers to buy a franchise but my stand is that I want to earn it the right way,” he added.
“We will continue to play in the Bangalore Super Division and try and develop the team with our academy boys. I want to come back (to I-League) with a stronger base, ”Char explained regarding plans for the future and youth development.
“We are in the process of starting soccer schools in Mangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad and have also decided to revamp Raman Vijayan’s academy in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu where 45 kids between 11 and 16 are training,” said Char, pointing to efforts like that of the TATA Football Academy (TFA) in developing football at the grassroots level.
Retrospectively, Char has alluded to the success achieved by his side in the Bangalore Super Division (BDS) and this legitimate as a reason for getting carried away. “We probably got (carried away) after finishing second in the Super Division in our maiden outing. Then came our decent show in the second division, that too without foreign players in our ranks. Now with the experience of playing in the I-League (second division), I have realized that there is no point continuing in there,” he summed up.