The All India Football Federation (AIFF), Indian football’s governing body, has expressed its discontent at the present predicament of the Santosh trophy, with it possibly ringing out big changes to the shape and style of the tournament, as indicated by the general secretary, Kushal Das.
Speaking at SportzPower's Indian Football Fourm, Das elucidated, “From the footballing perspective, I don’t think that Santosh Trophy has much relevance. We have to look into that.
“We need to make the Santosh Trophy contextually viable. This could probably change a few things that would attract crowds and sponsors.”
During the course of his speech, he also stated that the AIFF was looking at all possible angles to “freshen” up the tournament, meaning a change in format or change of age-group related structures was on the cards.
He also stated, “Yes, making it an under-23 tournament could be a possibility. We have to work out the possibilities available.”
“At the moment, only the I-League is providing players to the national team. We have to make the Santosh Trophy viable enough for players to emerge from it too. That is the main aim,” claimed Das, who said that it used to play the role of an avenue where future talents could be spotted.
Das also issued a statement of dissatisfaction at the steps taken by the clubs to acquire high priced transfer targets while also dishing out extremely high wages to players. He said that clubs who fail to clear the club licensing criteria in the following year would be barred from participating in the I-League.
“Ninety per cent of the clubs’ budget is spent on players’ salary. That is unacceptable. Because of so much money spent on buying players, virtually, there is no money left for infrastructure development,” stated Das driving home the point.
“A residential elite academy for Under 16-18 players is in Goa and also one planned in Pune. We will tie up with Football Federation Australia to look into grassroots programme in Maharashtra,” revealed the general secretary on other plans of the AIFF.
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