BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
Shrinivas Dempo, who serves as one of the vice-presidents of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), stated that it is for everyone’s good that the Indian Super League (ISL) of IMG-Reliance now has a fixed slot.
ISL was to kick-off in January 2013 before being pushed over to January 2014 – which meant that the I-League was forced to have a break of two and a half months, something which the clubs weren’t too pleased with. However the proposed league had to be postponed all over again as there were several pertinent issues weren’t resolved.
“As far as the AIFF is concerned, we only officially give them a slot in the calendar. So for the AIFF, it's a little bit of a disappointment (on the postponement). But at the same time, the I-League clubs have been demanding that it would have created a disturbance between the I-League by giving such a huge break. So I think from a timing perspective, September  looks to be good.
“Instead of playing [the ISL] in between and spoiling the rhythm and tempo of the I-League, because we wanted the I-League to build up sufficient interest and that can happen only if we have continuous games. From that perspective, it's a good thing,” Dempo told Goal, at the sidelines of Brasil Futebol Academia’s announcement of a tie-up with businessman Jas Dhami.
The president of the Goa Football Association (GFA) claimed that it was a “necessity’ for the ISL to be deferred given that the infrastructure wasn’t up to the mark at most of the earmarked venues.
“From a perspective of slotting a time in the calendar, what happened was that the Goa ground also was not available at the last minute, but that's only one of the things. Infrastructure in many cities is not ready and probably all of us had underestimated the importance of that. So I think, from that perspective, it was more of a necessity that the [ISL] had to be postponed. So, all-in-all, it works for the I-League clubs also because there will be no break in the I-League.”
Dempo has expressed an interest for bidding in for the Goa franchise in the ISL but was quick to add that it solely depends on whether the investment would bring commercial rewards. He mentioned that the organisers haven’t yet shared vital information which would be critical for an investor to decide whether to take the plunge or not.
“Definitely, anything to do with football interests us because we've been in football for the last four decades. To take a firm decision, we need to understand [the ISL] because so far of what we have read is only come through the press. Once the official documents are ready from IMG-Reliance, I will definitely take a look at it. And if it is something that adds value to football, that adds value to our own team then we'll look at it as a commercial entity and go ahead.
“It's going to be a pure business call. The idea is that if it's interesting enough and if it gives us the commercial feeling, then probably we could make money here (ISL) and put it in our grassroot development. So that's the whole idea, because we've been losing money for the last 40 years.”
Should Dempo chose to bid in the ISL, he would have to take the players via an auction process, not field his Dempo SC squad as it is.
“Our idea is not to play the same set. At least if we at all bid, then we will be looking at a completely new set - bidding from the IMG-Reliance players, the foreign players that they sign. Eventually how things could integrate is a long-term call. For that you will have to see how the [Indian] Super League is planned and how it comes out. Then only we can take a decision.”
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