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The commercial and marketing partners of the Indian FA never made any false promises to the players…

Following the postponement of the Indian Super League (ISL) by six months, there has been talk of IMG-Reliance, who have conceptualized the new league/tournament as per their agreement with the All India Football Federation (AIFF), of having left players, close to 40, to totter on their own.

Wim Koevermans, the national team coach, too joined the bandwagon asking for a solution to be put in place so that the players get to play.

In the meantime, players such as Nirmal Chettri and Sandesh Jhingan, who have pledged their alliance to the ISL, have in the past expressed their desire to play in the I-League and if not, try for a stint abroad.

While many criticized the players for being over ambitious, in reality they were only speaking based on the contract they signed or were offered.

When IMG-Reliance began roping in players for their new venture, a ‘letter of offer’ was handed out to the said player. Following completion of the medical, the player was to pen a retention and player contracts respectively with the latter being with an entity/club set up by IMG-Reliance, namely IMG-Reliance FC which is registered in Raigad, Maharashtra.

“IMG-R shall use all reasonable endeavours to facilitate a loan agreement as permitted by the AIFF, with any domestic or international club, during the contract period, to enable the player to participate in other tournaments, and competitions, domestic and/or international, including the I-League during the tournament’s off-season and the player agrees to enter into a loan agreement with any such club which is secured by IMG-R,” states the retention and offer letters of IMG-Reliance.

To be fair to the commercial and marketing partners, they have made reasonable endeavours as promised and have even managed to break through the facade of the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association’s (IPFCA) resolve with Mohammedan Sporting and now Rangdajied United taking players from their list into their squads. They are even taking care of the players financially despite the postponement of their tournament.

However never did they promise their set of players a ‘guarantee’ of playing in the I-League and hence they cannot be blamed for the leaving them on the lurch.


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