2012: Five Negatives in Indian Football

A year full of ups and downs is coming to an end for Indian football. Goal.com has a look at its worst moments...
 Ayush Srivastava
 Feature | India
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The year is coming to a close and year ending series’ are the norm of the day, as people cherish the good moments of the season and blast the bad ones. So how could one not be done on the state of Indian football?

Hence Goal.com makes a list of 5 most negative announcements related to the game in the country.

As expected, it took a long while to shortlist 5 moments, mainly because there were too many negatives to cut out.

But eventually we did get there!

Clubs ask for their share of the pie

This three way battle left all those with the interests of Indian football in their hearts with their head in their hands!

To sum it up, the clubs, rightly so, wanted a share of the pie from the profits made from the I-League. IMG-Reliance, the marketing and commercial partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), on the other hand pointed to a contract they signed with the Indian FA for complete marketing rights of the I-League, in return for an amount to be given to the national football authority. The AIFF meanwhile had their hands tied, having given up all the commercial benefits to IMG-Reliance in return for a fixed annual payment.

Add to it the management company’s demand of organizing an Indian Premier League (IPL) type tournament and the club’s reluctance to agree to the same by not agreeing to release their players for the same. Chances are that this point will very well continue to hog the limelight in 2013 too!

India forego AFC Champions League spot

In its European equivalent, clubs would kill to get a chance to earn even a play-off berth. However India has failed to field a team for 2 years running now. And unfortunately the clubs are not even to blame, as the AIFF, in another facepalm moment, forgot to send the required documents. Now with the AFC deciding to scrap India’s slot altogether, it might be a while before I-League’s finest match-up against Asia’s best.


AFC Challenge Cup debacle

India went to Nepal aiming for the stars and returned battered and quite literally, seeing stars! Hoping to seal a second successive appearance in the continental showpiece tournament, the Blue Tigers finished without scoring a single goal. Thrashed by one and all, Savio Medeira and his wards really made one fear for the future of Indian football.

Kolkata derby fiasco and subsequent ban on Mohun Bagan

Whenever someone wants to defend the potential of Indian football, they point towards the frenzy caused by the clash between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. As always, the spectators numbered more than a hundred thousand, and while the Mariners came into the game in woeful form, one expected a tight derby.

And for almost one full half, it seemed like an entertaining encounter might be in the offing. But then pandemonium ensued as the referee sent off Odafa Okolie leading to furious protests by the fans. Several projectiles were thrown onto the pitch, and one of them hit Syed Rahim Nabi in the ear, leaving him unconscious.

After a lengthy delay, the two sides finished the first half, but in a further twist, Mohun Bagan refused to return for the second half, leading to the first ever suspended Kolkata derby. This decision cost them heavily, as the AIFF decided to suspend them for 2 seasons, while withdrawing them from this season's competition. The Mariners can still appeal against this verdict.

Where is the money?

Nowhere else must it happen in the world that the league winners and other clubs as well are still owed their prize money from last season, midway through the next campaign. But that is the how football is run in the country, as Dempo SC, East Bengal amongst others, are still owed money from the previous season.

But one cannot really feel too sympathetic to the clubs cause. They themselves are guilty of similar treatment to players. As revealed by Goal.com earlier during the season, Mumbai FC had failed to pay-off salaries that they owed their players for last season.

Salgaocar FC on the other hand showed how unprofessionalism reigns in Indian football, as after signing players like Sandesh Gadkari on lucrative contracts, they unceremoniously dumped them half-way through the season, with pittance for compensation.

India’s unprofessionalism was laid out for the world to bear when the Brazilian legends, here to take part in a match between the Brazilian Masters and IFA All-stars, refused to take to the field as the organizers failed to pay them on time.

After hectic parleys, the money was finally disbursed to the players and eventually they took the field, after a lengthy delay

Of course, the fact that the league also lost it’s only 2 south Indian representatives and the haphazard manner that several high profile games were organized meant the year finished with plenty to be desired.


While the above incidents too should have left those who care about Indian football with their heads bowed in shame, nothing matched the tragedy that was the death of a Bangalore footballer on the pitch.

Just a few days after Fabrice Muamba had a miraculous escape, Venkatesh Dhanraj, a professional football player based in Bangalore plying his trade for 'Bangalore Mars', passed away on his way to the hospital after collapsing on the field. This was primarily due to a lack of any sort of basic emergency or life saving care at the stadium as well as lack of an ambulance or any other direct transport facility to the hospital which might have resulted in a different outcome altogether.

A few months later, Mahesh Thapa suffered the same fate in Jalpaiguri, as he collapsed after a collision with the goalkeeper. He was rushed to a local hospital, which shockingly did not have a bed for the player to be treated on. By the time he was moved elsewhere, it was too late.

Administrative goof-ups and on the field errors can be corrected, but a life lost can never be compensated for.

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