Not every I-League club is against IMG-Reliance’s tournament – Bhaichung Bhutia

The former India skipper doesn’t believe that the clubs are united in their stand against the marketing and commercial partners of the Indian FA...

GOALBY   RAHUL BALI     Follow @rahulatma on twitter

While the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) have been vocal against IMG-Reliance’s new tournament, Bhaichung Bhutia doesn’t buy into the argument.

He mentioned that it is only a select few teams who are running the campaign against the new tournament. Bhutia, who owns United Sikkim, is amongst the few who have whole-heartedly backed the initiative of IMG-Reliance in kick-starting a two and a half month tournament.

“I don’t think amongst the I-League clubs, everybody is against it. I have been into the meetings as well. Yes, there are one or two I-League clubs that call the shots. It is very unfair. In the I-League Clubs Association (IPFCA) meet, we don’t have the real owners coming in and meeting. We don’t have the Dempos and the Alemaos coming. So it is represented by few people who I think have got very limited knowledge sometimes.”

The chairman of the technical committee of the AIFF opined that the clubs would benefit by taking players who are associated with IMG-Reliance. He cited the example of Prayag United who haven’t managed to rope in the players for the upcoming season.

“We need to look at the larger picture. So there are a lot of clubs who are still struggling. If Prayag United can make a team and get some players (from IMG-Reliance), they would be happy to do so. But because they have formed an association (IPFCA) and they have put a 'diktat' from few people, they also can’t sign. So it is very unfair.

“Teams like Ar-hima (Rangdajied United) who have just come into the I-League, they are a young team and have come into the I-League after so much of struggle. You don’t want them to be relegated next season. I think the clubs have to realise that there are a few people who are making those decisions in the clubs association. They have to realise that the new tournament is for the betterment of Indian football. If the I-League continues this way, everybody is going to struggle which we have already seen in the case of the Mahindras and JCT,” he said.

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