The All India football Federation (AIFF) gave its go ahead to the IPL-style IMG-Reliance league with its executive committee agreeing to the holding of the tournament by its commercial partners IMG-Reliance early next year.
IMG-Reliance shared their new tournament’s objectives, structure and implementation. The details of the franchise auction including guidelines, obligations and building process were shared with the committee. IMG-Reliance also gave an update on the player’s signed, venue booking for the tournament and their plans on stadium refurbishment.
"IMG-R gave a detailed presentation about the proposed tournament and we feel it will be the I-league which will sustain Indian football but this short league will be a booster dose for Indian football.
"Through this tournament we are looking for the popularisation of Indian football and taking the game to the masses. I league and this tournament will go hand-in-hand," AIFF president Praful Patel said.
Patel said the league will have players from across the world with plenty of experience in international tournaments.
Dempo Sports Club owner and All India Football Federation Vice-President Shrinivas Dempo said that all the stakeholders should amicably resolve the issues regarding the IPL-style football league proposed to be organised by AIFF's commercial partner IMG-Reliance.
Since the idea of the IMG-R tournament came to the fore, the clubs have been adamant that they will not release players for this league but Dempo said the stakeholders should sit across the table and sort out the issues.
"For the development of the Indian football, AIFF and Clubs are playing vital roles. Both sides have valid reasons in the issue and they are free to express their views. That is why we have to sit across the table. These issues can be resolved," he said.
Dempo, was made a member of a four-man committee to talk to the I-League clubs to address the issues, said the clubs, IMG-R and the AIFF should not head towards a confrontation.
"Any confrontation should be avoided. All the clubs and AIFF officials should sit together," he said.
Since the idea of the tournament came to the fore, the clubs have been adamant that they will not release players for this league but Patel said there was no real issue among the stake holders.
"There is no real issue among the AIFF, IMG-R and the I-league clubs. I-league is our number one priority and it will remain so in future also. We will strictly implement AIFF club licensing criteria for professionalising the clubs and all the issues will be sorted out amicably," he said.
"I would just call these as grey areas which is expected to come up in the first year of any tournament. The league is going to be held for the first time and naturally there will be some issues and we will sorted it out," he added.
He said a committee of four vice-presidents – Subrata Dutta, Srinivas Dempo, Larsing Ming Sawyan and K M I Mather -- to speak to the clubs.
"Two members of these committee are themselves club owners and they will talk to the clubs to find an amicable solution to the issues and the important point is we have to see the largest picture which is to improve the profile of Indian football," he said.
Patel said that from the second season, the IMG-R league will either be held before or after the I-League.
Image: AIFF's Executive Committee Meeting
Photograph: Aiff Media