I-League clubs not to sign players who have joined IMG-Reliance bandwagon

The clubs' body maintain their stance on players who have joined ISL by not agreeing to sign them...

I-League Professional Football Clubs' Association (IPFCA) reiterated their earlier stand of not associating with any player who have pledged their alliance with IMG-Reliance’s Indian Super League (ISL).

In a meeting held in Kolkata which was attended by eleven clubs, sans Mohammedan Sporting and Mohun Bagan with the latter’s general secretary Anjan Mitra being hospitalized in Mumbai, the clubs agreed to take players from the disbanded Pailan Arrows side into their fold.  

Earlier the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had to submit to the demands of their commercial and marketing partners to loan the players of Pailan Arrows to them after the club closed its shutters. As a consequence, none of the I-League clubs took the young players of the developmental side into their rosters.

However now with the ISL postponed to September 2014, the AIFF shall loan these players to the clubs until the end of 2013-14 season following which the player would be a free agent and chose whether to join the IMG-Reliance bandwagon or ply his trade in the I-League.

"Regarding the Pailan Arrows players, we have decided that since the ISL is postponed, we can take them on loan. All clubs have agreed to that. Regarding IMG-Reliance players, we have decided that we can take them, provided they are out of contract with IMG-Reliance. If they are out of contract, we will take them," Raj Gomes, IPFCA president, said.

"If the player is still in contract with IMG-Reliance, we will not take him," he stressed.

Meanwhile the clubs haven’t decided on their stand should IMG-Reliance wish to take the players from the I-League on loan for their proposed league.

"That we will take a call later on, since the tournament has been postponed till September," Gomes mentioned.

Mohammedan Sporting had earlier breached the embargo by roping in players from IMG-Reliance fold in Luis Barreto, Manish Maithani, Syed Nabi, Ishfaq Ahmed and Mehrajuddin Wadoo.

"Regarding Mohammedan Sporting, we are yet to take a final decision, but we will ask them for a letter of explanation," he said.

Gomes also slammed media reports that claimed that the cash-strapped United Sports Club had agreed to loan eight of their players to IMG-Reliance.

"United Sports Club has not done this. This is wrong information. I know Nabab Bhattacharya (United Sports Club official) very well and I have been talking to him all the time. He is always with the IPFCA," he explained.

The IPFCA had mentioned of starting a new tournament simultaneously alongside the ISL. The plans for the same have been shelved as of now.

"The plan of the new tournament doesn't exist now,” he responded.

The clubs shall meet AIFF officials on Wednesday morning at the same venue to chalk out the reshuffling of I-League fixtures.

"The I-League schedule is what we are trying to change because there were no games from January 15 to March. So, we will make better spacing so that better football can be played," he concluded.

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