AIFF unfazed by withdrawal of Goan clubs
Indian football’s governing body is now focussed on welcoming new teams into the fold…
All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das has said Indian football’s governing body remains unfazed by the withdrawal of Goan clubs from next season’s I-League.
Traditional I-League heavyweights Dempo Sports Club, Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa announced earlier in the year that they would not participate in the top flight next season as they did not agree with the proposed restructuring plan for Indian football. It was a decision that was reaffirmed earlier this week after a meeting between representatives from all three clubs.
Speaking on the subject Das told IANS over phone, “"So what if Salgaocar or Sporting Clube de Goa have decided not to be part of I-League?
"People should look at the fan following (ISL side) FC Goa has. It's amazing and Salgaocar or a Sporting Clube de Goa have nothing compared to it," Das said.
Das was part of the I-League Bid Evaluation Committee that met earlier in the week in New Delhi to review the bids from Minerva Academy FC, FC Bardez Goa and Chennai City FC who are seeking to be the new direct-entry corporate teams in the top flight. He said the AIFF was very pleased with the response to their bidding process and was now focussed on incorporating the new clubs with little regard for those who had chosen to leave.
"Look at the new teams that have come in. FC Bardez have a bigger fan following than these clubs. I have seen them in the Goa Pro League. Minerva (Academy FC) have a state-of-the-art academy in Punjab and Chennai City FC also are so enthusiastic. Look at the eight teams in the ISL."
"I really don't know who are these people saying these are dark days for Indian football. People look at everything negatively," Das said dismissively.
When the likes of Bengaluru FC, the now-defunct Bharat FC or Pune-based DSK Shivajians were handed direct entries to the I-League some years ago, the AIFF asked for a performance bank guarantee of Rs 100 crore if the companies did not have a net worth of Rs 500 crore and above. On top of that there were five-year contracts.
But now with the proposed revamped roadmap on the horizon where the Indian Super League (ISL) will replace the I-League as the top-tier competition, "maybe the stringent criteria needs to be relaxed", Das said.
Published: 2016-11-25 12:17:25