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While the I-League champions are summoned to clear their players dues, Valanka Alemao demands to know when will the AIFF clear the outstanding prize money...

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Player Status Committee met on Thursday and have compelled the I-League clubs, namely Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers, to remunerate players to whom they owe salaries by 31 December 2013.

“There is a problem with regards to payments of two former players, held up due to several reasons," Churchill Brothers CEO, Valanka Alemao admitted. "The club will no doubt fulfill its obligation, and as such the club has never defaulted in payments ever since Churchill Brothers SC has come into existence.”

Valanka however pointed the finger back at the Indian FA for the current state of affairs and continued, “The failure of the AIFF to govern Indian football comes to the fore when Churchill Brothers have not been paid the full complement of the 2012-13 winners' prize money of Rs. 70 lakhs, with only 30 lakhs been delivered to the club till date even after at least 60 reminders to the CEO of the I-League (Sunando Dhar).

"The AIFF also owe us Rs. 20 lakhs as promised for fielding an Under-20 side from the 2008-09 season and also another 10 Lakhs from the 2010-11 season subsidies. The AIFF have not shown the least courtesy of letting us know when the amount will be cleared," she alleged.

Valanka also clarified that the club's representative, Macario Rodrigues who attended the Players Status Committee meeting of the AIFF had clearly stated in his submission that the club will clear the players' salaries as soon as the AIFF clears the dues towards the Goan outfit.

"Likewise, we would like to know to which body the club has to appeal so that the long pending over dues are cleared at once, which will also facilitate the club to clear the dues to the players as fast as possible,” she made her point.

Churchill Alemao and daughter Valanka with the I-League 2013-14 trophy

Club owner, Churchill Alemao added, “Every football club in India runs on the passion of its owners and their will to improve the standards of Indian Football. The club owners and officials have nothing to gain from running their clubs in terms of monetary benefits.

“I have been running this club for over 40 years and have treated all my players and management as one big extended family. Never have we withheld any players salary and at times have gone out of our way to help players who are in need of financial assistance”.

Further, explaining the financial merry-go-round with regards to winning a sponsor, Valanka elaborated, “Most companies are reluctant to sponsor Indian football (I-League) clubs as they say it does not offer any mileage. It is unfortunate that Indian football does not attract big corporate sponsorship.

"Though we did manage to rope in a sponsor last year, there were major problems," she went on to reveal. "NVD Solar left Churchill Brothers high and dry half way through last season, paying us only 20 percent of the promised sponsorship amount. We have already filed a court case against them in order to recover our dues.

"Nevertheless Churchill Brothers will fulfill its obligations and we shall not fall behind as far as the payments of the two players are concerned," Valanka stressed.

"We as clubs are working towards making Indian football and the I-League, that is India’s premier football league, a better product wherein we need corporates to come and support Indian football to grow and work towards a common vision of watching the Indian national team play in the FIFA World Cup 2026,” she envisioned.

"The Player Status Committee is duty bound to deliver the verdict but they should understand the club have not withheld the payment on purpose and have always treated the players well. It is our utmost concern to pay the two concerned players as soon as possible," she concluded.

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