Shrinivas Dempo: The AIFF must come clean on which league is their priority

The vice-president of the Indian FA hopes to play a key role in resolving the tussle between the clubs and IMG-Reliance…

Shrinivas Dempo has been assigned the difficult task of dispelling the doubts of the I-League clubs regarding the IMG-Reliance league along with Subrata Dutta, K Mather and Larsing Ming in their capacities as the vice-presidents of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

However the decision took the chairman of Dempo SC by surprise but was quick to reiterate that the Indian FA must offer more clarity with regards to their marketing and commercial partner’s plans.

"I was taken by surprise and was clueless about the president's decision. Nonetheless, it is important that whatever decisions taken, the AIFF should have clarity and transparency,” he told The Times of India.

“As president of Dempo Sports Club and the Goa Football Association (GFA), I am all for the improvement and promotion of football in the country. But to me, what is important is that we need to get our priorities right. Right now, I understand the angst of the I-League clubs as there is no clarity on the status of the I-League and proposed IMG-R league. The AIFF should come clean on which league is their priority.”

At the Executive Committee meeting of the AIFF on Thursday, Dempo had raised the question of the fear amongst the I-League clubs of being given step-motherly treatment should the new league of IMG-Reliance kick-off. Praful Patel, the AIFF president, was quick to suggest that the I-League shall forever be the premier competition in the country.

"I had suggested that the IMG-R League should be played before or after the I-League and not in-between. It will not only disturb the rhythm of the teams but off-set their plans and goals.

"We have to work out a positive plan. The schedule in its present form is not favourable for the I-League clubs. I will do my best in sorting out the issue after consulting the I-League club owners in my jurisdiction and take the positives back to the AIFF and hope a solution can be worked out for the betterment of Indian football,” said Dempo.

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