I-League: AIFF League Committee stalls decision on number of foreign players

Soccerex 2014 I-League CEO Sunando Dhar
The League Committee approved various other proposals but the quota of foreign players in the I-League remained a sticky point.

The League Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Subrata Dutta convened a meeting at the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Headquarters in Dwarka, New Delhi on Wednesday. The purpose of the meet was to discuss the various proposals put forward by the I-League club officials their meeting with the AIFF officials on the 29th of June, 2017.

The clubs' proposal to run the I-League 2017-18 season simultaneously with the Indian Super League (ISL). Both the competitions would be held after the completion of the upcoming FIFA Under 17 World Cup in India 2017 to be held from the 6th to 28th of October.

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Several proposals had been put forward in the previous meeting by the clubs officials for the deliberation of the League Committee. A key proposal was to telecast the I-League 2017-18 on the Star Sports network to match the production quality of the ISL. This was agreed to on by the organizers of the ISL, the Football Sport Development Limited (FSDL), the current oraganisers of the ISL. The scheduling of the matches will be discussed and finalised by Star Sports, FDSL and the I-League department.

I-League final

However, the proposal to increase the quota of foreign players to 8 which had divided opinions amongst the clubs remained a sticky point during the meet with no consensus arrived. The League Committee has now referred to the decision on the same to the AIFF Executive Committee for a final decision. The proposal remains a contentious issue within the clubs with four different clubs (Minerva Punjab FC, Neroca FC, Chennai City FC and Aizwal F.C) favouring the status quo while the Kolkata clubs Mohan Bagan and East Bengal remain in favour of the proposal.

I-League: Proposal to increase the number of foreign players opposed by several clubs

The proposal to increase the travel subsidies were passed in the meet with following allocation -

1. Travel Subsidy of Rs. 50 Lakhs per club.

2. Special Subsidy of Rs. 20 Lakhs per club

Along with above, a Central Marketing Expenditure of Rs 1 Crore to be funded by the AIFF as also approved. This would be subject to the the clubs submitting their local marketing plans to the Federation which in turn will lay out the Central Expenditure before the AIFF Finance Committee for approval.

A Task Force comprising of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the League Committee, along with a member of the FDSL, AIFF General Secretary and CEO, I-League as ex-officio members has been formed to oversee the marketing, operations and marketing of the I-League 2017-18 season.

Along with these key decisions, the Committee unanimously agreed on a proposal by various Public Sector Unions (PSU) to organize a corporate league under the aegis of the AIFF, subject to the expenses being borne by the participating teams. The Committee also announced that the format and schedule for the Super Cup/Champions Cup will be decided after reviewing the calendar for the SAFF Championship to be held in Bangladesh in 2018 and further discussions with FDSL.

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Goal spoke with Robert Royte, the owner of I-League club Aizwal FC on his thoughts on the key decisions. Mr. Royte welcomed the steps of the AIFF to increase the subsidies which are still subject to the approval of the Finance Committee. "In my personal opinion, it would have been better if the subsidies were further hiked by 20 percent since clubs like us from the Northeast incur more expenses when travelling for away games while trying to simultaneously improve our infrastructure. If our local state governments can help us by funding our stadium upgrades, why not the AIFF", he said.