The AIFF hasn't fulfilled the AFC criterion in the first place - IPFCA

Registration of the new association of the clubs has been declared and they expressed their grouse on IMG-Reliance failing to share their plan on Indian football as yet...
 Anselm Noronha
 Exclusive | I-League
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I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) is a step closer towards professionalising as they plan to register themselves as an association under the Indian Societies Act, 1960.

While the members of all the 13 I-League clubs, except Pailan Arrows, will form part of the committee, the newly elected office bearers were revealed as:

President: R.A.J Gomes (General Secretary, Salgaocar SC)
Vice-President: Debashish Dutta (Director, Mohun Bagan)
Vice-President: Dr. S.R. Dasgupta (General Secretary, East Bengal)
Vice-President: Armando Colaco (General Secretary, Dempo SC)
Gen. Secretary: Chirag Tanna, (Head of Operations, Pune FC)
Treasurer: Victor Fernandes (CEO, Sporting Clube de Goa)

Other representatives present at the meeting were Atul Badgamia (Mumbai FC), J. Thapa (Air India SC), Macario Rodrigues (Churchill Brothers SC), Nawab Bhattacharya (Prayag United SC) and Alokesh Banerjee (Director, Mohun Bagan).

Various issues pertaining to to the I-League and other sectors involving the participant were discussed in the meeting between the members consisting of 10 I-League clubs while those not present (Shillong Lajong FC, ONGC and United Sikkim) have sent their unconditional support.

It was thereby decided that a letter will be written to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) which will be signed by all the clubs in which all matters were to be addressed.

  • Calendar for upcoming football season 2012-13.
  • Release of national team players as per FIFA regulations.
  • I-League as separate entity with clubs as major stake holders.
  • Revised I-League structure made by IMG-Reliance.
The AIFF and their commercial and marketing partners, IMG-Reliance had met the I-League clubs back in February and had given a date of April 20 wherein they shall share the roadmap for Indian football for the benefit of all parties involved.

The clubs were discontent with the circulation of the calendar for the upcoming season without the same being discussed in advance with the clubs.

In a major decision which is likely to hurt the national team, the clubs have unanimously decided that they will release players for the national camps as per FIFA rules and regulations which highlight that the players need to be released only four days (including the day of the game) for an international friendly, which must be held on FIFA days, while for an international competition such as World Cup qualifier, Asian Cup and so on, at least 14 days before the first game is scheduled.

In the previous meeting held by the IPFCA on 20 February, it was demanded that I-League should be a separate entity with clubs as the major stake holders.

Addressing the media, IPFCA General Secretary Chirag Tanna said, "We are trying to get together and make the I-League a profitable venture but the biggest aim is to get Indian I-League clubs to play in the Asian Champions League.

"There has been some communicated in the past about I-League clubs not submitting certain documentation to the AIFF. However, that has been done."

He continued: "The clubs have fulfilled all criteria barring one, by not signing the National Club Licensing but the member association have not fulfilled any criteria.

"What we are asking for is not unrealistic - every good league in the world is a separate entity in which the clubs are the stake holders. We want to improve the standard of football in India and we are ready to do everything from our end as well.

"The clubs owners and representatives recognise the fact that we need to improve but that has to be certain commitments wherein the clubs can go out to earn in return, which is why we have not yet signed the National Club Licensing.

We are one and united... Will AIFF join hands with IPFCA?

"It is not fair to only expect I-League clubs to fulfill criteria when the member association has not fulfilled the criteria mentioned by the AFC. Only when everyone works together will it benefit Indian football. It cannot be an individual effort by the clubs, or the member association or the commercial parties."

Tanna also appealed not to misconstrue the clubs' patience as lack of intent of wanting to achieve their demands towards the betterment of Indian football.

"We have been patient and have not confronted, but that does not mean that we don't want to change and don't want to improve," he said.

IPFCA President RAJ Gomes added, "In the last two months of waiting, we had to exchange a lot of views that we have completed today, so there is no reason for anybody to say that we have been dormant and not working."

With regard to the possibility of starting a new league altogether, Vice-President Armando Colaco replied, "We don't want to start anything apart from the federation. We respect the federation. That's the reason we got together to work with the federation for the benefit of football in India."

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