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Gokulam Kerala CEO Dr. Ashok Kumar - Looks like it's football vs money

15:12 GMT 30/12/2018
I-League AIFF
The former Pune FC general manager believes the Indian Super League clubs have arm-twisted the AIFF...

Spearheaded by Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj, the I-League (Private) Clubs Association has waged a public war against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its marketing partners Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL).

There was a press conference in Kolkata on Sunday to disclose their course of action against the host broadcaster, Star Sports' decision through the FSDL to televise only 80 of the 110 league games this season. The AIFF had also stated later that they were unaware of the broadcasters' decision to curtail the coverage.

Gokulam Kerala CEO, Dr. Ashok Kumar, who present in the meet, called the FSDL a 'circus' and blamed its product - the Indian Super League (ISL) - for the slow demise of the I-League.

"First there was the National Footbal League (NFL), that became the I-League and slowly, some circus steps into it stating that it is ISL. None of the participants had the club criteria fulfilled when they got into the ISL.

"They call themselves franchises, they are not a club. As the days went by, they wanted identity because they never had any identity," he lashed out.

Interestingly, he was part of Pune FC who became the first professional club in India.

He former Chennai City COO continued, "They forced or I would rather say arm-twisted the apex body, got into a new tournament, known as Super Cup and they said we are also there. It is a painful situation.

"We've to stop them putting nail after nail into the coffin (I-League). The one inside the coffin is still alive and it's the one responsible for Indian football.

"The ones playing the ISL - all are nurtured by the I-League clubs, even the national teams players who have done well in the last 2-3 years under the head coach, who got the team from 174 rank to 97 - all nurtured by the I-League clubs.

"One body cannot take away the spirit of football from us. It now looks like its football versus money. The game is greater than the money. Money cannot buy the game. Without Pune FC, where is Amrinder Singh, where is Jeje Lalpekhlua?

"It's a very pathetic situation we are in now. I have been talking about a roadmap since the beginning, which is still not in place."

The Gokulam Kerala CEO has assured that all parties are together in their collective fight against the lack of broadcast.