I-League clubs cry foul over delayed payments from AIFF

India's highest football authority is in the news again for delaying payments owed to I-League clubs after the 2011-12 season...
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) just cannot seem to get out of the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. After battling issues regarding the telecast of the Federation Cup, the AIFF is left red with embarrassment as they have failed to make payments to clubs that finished in the prize winning bracket at the end of the 2011-12 I-League season.

Dempo SC, the defending league champions, will kickstart their campaign against Churchill Brothers on Saturday without the 70 lakh rupees they are entitled to as league winners.

Dempo are yet to receive the prize money for winning the 2011-12 I-League

"The AIFF talks of professionalism, but when it comes to money they continuously falter. They have not as yet paid us the prize money", revealed a senior Dempo official to The Times Of India.

Dempo are not the only victims in this regard. Churchill Alemao, patron of Churchill Brothers in a press statement said "Ahead of the I-League, I want to raise a point regarding non-payment of prize money. The AIFF still owes us 55 lakh rupees towards prize money, transport, accomodation as well as money promised for fielding an under-19 developmental team. We hope the AIFF solves the issue immediately"

Finances are tight at the AIFF and is one of the reasons why subsidies that clubs can exercise for arranging their own travel and lodging arrangements have not been cleared. The total subsidy amounts to 50 lakh rupees.

Clubs that field Under-19 teams as part of the development program are entitled to some payment which has not been cleared since the last year. "We were told at the I-League core committee meeting that the payment for the Under-19 teams, which have not been paid for sometime now will be cleared next year in installments. There is no word on the prize money though," said a club official to the Times of India.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar confirmed the claims of the clubs but went on to ensure that the outstanding payments will be cleared at the earliest. The I-League winners will receive 70 lakh rupees in prize money while the runners-up will be given 40 lakh. The third and fourth placed teams will each receive a prize money of 25 and 15 lakh respectively. Also the AIFF pays 35,000 to clubs for each win and 5000 to the Man of the Match.

One only wonders when such embarrasing incidents will cease as they are impediments to the progress of the game in the country.

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