Less than two weeks since Jerome Valcke, the FIFA general secretary, visited the country and spoke of the potential it has, the authorities have continued to not mend their ways and the football is being run in an unprofessional manner.
IMG-Reliance, the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) marketing and commercial partners, had assured the I-League clubs at the league’s Core Committee meeting held on Monday, that the Federation Cup matches were to be broadcasted.
“We were told by a senior representative of IMG-Reliance at the meeting that 15 matches of the Federation Cup and 75 games of the I-League will be broadcasted. Also it was mentioned that the concerned TV channel would promote the properties as the deal would be for a period of three years. However yet again what has been promised hasn’t been delivered which leaves us disappointed over the state of affairs,” Chirag Tanna, the Pune FC head of operations, told Goal.com.
Earlier Goal.com had revealed that the Federation Cup will be telecasted on Ten Action+ however given that the deal was scrapped off at the eleventh hour, the broadcaster pulled down the schedule of the tournament after having earlier put it up on their website.
“We aren’t showing any Federation Cup matches,” informed a source from the Ten Group.
While IMG-Reliance’s downer also has been their failure to rope in any potential sponsor for the I-League or the Federation Cup, just a couple of weeks after Jerome Valcke, the FIFA general secretary, visited the country and highlighted that it’s the I-League which has to excel if Indian football has to grow by leaps and bounds.
It has been learnt that a top regional broadcaster from West Bengal had offered to telecast the Federation Cup, which hasn’t yet been considered by IMG-Reliance for reasons unknown.
“We think that there is an attempt to genuinely try and undermine the status of the I-League and Federation Cup,” said a another club representative.
When contacted Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary, he remained non-committal as to whether the games of the Federation Cup would be broadcasted.
“Some issues need to be sorted out between the Broadcaster and the production and etc. We are in the process of discussions. At this point it will be premature to say that we won't be showing any Fed Cup matches. We are just trying to sort out certain issues,” said Das.
With IMG-Reliance failing to achieve in its objective to rope in a broadcast partner, the clubs are left wondering whether the AIFF’s commercial and marketing partners are at all interested in the existing properties in Indian football or all their focus is on the proposed two-month tournament, which has been deferred by a year, in order to commercialize the sport and earn a return on investment.
IMG-Reliance's Chief Operating Officier Ashu Jindal and IMG's vice-president Jefferson Slack remained unavailable for comment.
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