The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had set a deadline of 15th July for the Pailan Group to comply with certain financial securities should the Arrows continue for another season. However no decision has yet been taken on the future of the club which has left the players’ future hanging by thread.
The Indian FA had started the Arrows project to ensure that youngsters from their U-19 team get regular action in the country’s top division who were prepared for the 2018 World Cup qualification. The AIFF Emergency Committee had earlier mentioned that a minimum of five of the 30 registered players for an I-League club must be from the U-23 category, while two of them should make the final 18, with at least one in the starting eleven.
This shall ensure that the younger lot get enough playing time for them to develop and hone their skills. Per say, there isn’t any need for the AIFF to now run a developmental side, informed a top AIFF official to Goal.
However the Pailan Group are keen to continue the team for a year but the AIFF have sought certain assurances in order to avoid the embarrassing situation from last season where the players and the staff weren’t paid their dues for several months. They even had gone on to accuse the AIFF for not paying the rent of the residential academy on their campus.
“They have put a proposal to Mr.Praful Patel (AIFF President) that the terms of payment in the MOU we have signed should be altered a little bit to facilitate them paying at a later date. That call has to be taken by the AIFF as they had faltered on many occasions. But they maintain that they have paid it,” informed another AIFF official.
While there were rumuors of IMG-Reliance, the AIFF's marketing and commercial partners, showing an interest in financially backing the Arrows project, those talks have been quashed aside.
"It will be an absolute conflict of interest as a sponsor cannot have a team in the I-League," he added.
The Arrows project has been a disaster of sorts. The AIFF had hoped that it would be the 'ideal' club for the rest of the pack to follow but things weren't rosy as they were projected to be. The club doesn't fulfill the club licensing criterion at a time when the AIFF have already ousted ONGC for not having complied with the norms. Moreover there hasn't been any stability at the club with three coaches in as many years - with two being shown the door.
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