The marketing and commercial partners of the Indian FA do not wish to divulge the plan for the new tournament to the clubs as yet...
In a day which saw several u-turns, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) informed the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) that their ‘scheduled’ meeting with IMG-Reliance has been postponed.
This was after the meeting was confirmed to be held in Mumbai at 1800 IST at Lotus Lounge, as Goal had reported. It must be noted that Nandan Piramal and Valanka Alemao, in the capacity of IPFCA spokespersons, had categorically mentioned that the meeting with the clubs "has to happen before the AIFF's Executive Committee meeting on August 1."
The reason of the volte-face being that the commercial and marketing partners of the AIFF want to share the blueprint and execution plan of their proposed league on August 1 with the federation’s Executive Committee and do not want to spill the beans until then. Also the AIFF and their marketing partners hadn’t received the letter of IPFCA before confirming the meeting wherein they expressed that their pertinent questions on Indian football need to be addressed first before any discussions on the players is even brought up.
Raj Gomes, president of IPFCA, said, “Kushal Das (the AIFF general secretary) called to say that the meeting has been postponed as IMG-Reliance will want to meet after the Executive Committee meeting.”
“If IMG-Reliance wants our players, the logical thought is: What is this tournament about? Whether it will benefit the I-League and how? The AIFF too, as of today, is unaware of their plans and cannot answer questions about it. So why would we agree on something without seeking what’s best in our interest,” informed another club official.
Earlier Das had written to the two members of IPFCA to agree to meet IMG-Reliance in Mumbai on the issue of releasing players for the IPL-style league. In response to that, the IPFCA had nominated had formed a panel which would have held talks with IMG-Reliance, comprising of East Bengal’s Debabrata Sarkar, Mohun Bagan’s Debashish Dutta, Chirag Tanna from Pune FC, Bengaluru FC’s Mustafa Ghouse as well as Raj Gomes and Valanka Alemao, who represent Salgaocar FC and Churchill Brothers respectively.
However the clubs hadn’t changed their earlier stance of not associating themselves with any player who had signed for IMG-Reliance and remained adamant that their players shall not take part in the said competition.
The agenda of the clubs was to seek clarity regarding IMG-Reliance’s plans for Indian football in the future, and where the I-League stands in those discussions.
The IPFCA had also resolved to draft a letter which was sent to the AIFF, dealing with their concerns regarding the game, like enquiring on the federation’s stand on having the I-League as a separate entity and the distribution of all generated revenue, via the league amongst other issues.
A future date for a similar discussion has not yet been decided.