Chennai City owner Rohit Ramesh and E. Sugumaran have been elected as the president and secretary of Chennai Football Association (CFA) respectively in the annual general meeting held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. The new office bearers have got the mandate for the next four years.
"A lot is to be done. First, we need to sort out the board as well and then chalk out what are the primary things that need to be done on a priority basis. We have to finalize a list of tournaments that the CFA would organise in a calendar year. Then we should try to promote the Chennai Senior Division League so that it garners interest among the masses. The objective is to bring people to the stadium. Only by conducting the league in a more professional manner we can hope to do that.
"We have sub-junior level and junior level championships as well. But they do not get promoted. We need to highlight these and conduct these in a more professional manner. That is our primary challenge," said Ramesh to Goal after being elected to office.
Chennai is one of the few places in the state with a thriving district league. There are five divisions under CFA with the Senior Division being the top tier. Among the 12 participating teams in the senior division, there are four private teams and the rest are institution teams. The private clubs flex their financial muscles to rope in better quality foreigners which tilts the competition in their favour.
"Private clubs tend to spend exponentially more amount than the institutional ones. So we need to discuss and fix a realistic cap on the spending as well, providing a fair playing ground to all participating clubs," informed Ramesh.
The I-League club owner also informed that the Association will be looking to partner with a local television channel so that at least the highlights of each game are telecasted. While there are also plans to stream every match live from CFA's Facebook page and YouTube account.
"We do have plans to approach a local channel for telecasting the games. But first, we need to confirm the tournaments that we would be looking to revive. We are currently more keen on online platforms and social media. Once we start broadcasting the games on social media there is an increased possibility of clubs attracting sponsors. Thereafter, they can think of implementing a sustainable model. And not only the clubs, the association will also benefit from sponsorship if the games are broadcasted live."
The newly elected president stressed on the importance of working closely with the Tamil Nadu Football Association (TNFA) to fulfil certain objectives of the association as a number of state-level tournaments which can be revived only with the help of the apex governing body of the state.
"As we are looking to revive a number of tournaments that were conducted earlier we need the support of the governing body (Tamil Nadu Football Association). I have scheduled a meeting with the TNFA in the upcoming days. The heritage of these tournaments must once again be highlighted so that the public takes an active interest in them," signed off Ramesh.