The much-anticipated IPL-style Premier League Soccer (PLS) may reach a dead end, with the AIFF set to withdraw the permission of conducting the tournament, during its all-powerful Emergency Committee meeting, in New Delhi on Monday.
The tournament, proposed to be held from March 24-May 6 in Bengal under the aegis of Indian Football Association, had run into rough weather after the AIFF asked world body FIFA to temporarily suspend the six PLS clubs from Transfer Matching System (TMS), which allows a club to recruit foreign players.
Under FIFA Rules, no club in the world can recruit a professional foreign footballer without going through the TMS. Once certified by the national association as a genuine organisation, FIFA provides each club a separate password to enter into the TMS.
The passwords, which were earlier provided to the six PLS clubs, were withdrawn after IFA failed to submit necessary documents related to the affiliation of these clubs with it.
Time is running out for the transfer of the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Hernan Crespo, Robbie Fowler, Jay-Jay Okocha and Juan Pablo Sorin as February 15 is the FIFA international transfer deadline. IFA will have to provide before February 15 the necessary documents to the AIFF through which they will be sent to the world body.
"We have told the IFA to provide the documents in time but time is running out. For the tournament to be held, FIFA will have to give clearance of the foreign players by February 15. We have not received from IFA the necessary documents of the six clubs till now," a top AIFF official said.
"Tomorrow is Sunday and if AIFF does not get the documents by Monday (Feb 13) when the Emergency Committee meets, the permission given to IFA to hold the tournament will be withdrawn," he added.
The Emergency Committee comprises AIFF president, five vice-presidents and the general secretary.
The crux of the problem lies in the change of names of clubs as per the wishes of the franchisee partners and FIFA is believed to have asked the AIFF to furnish details about how the names of registered clubs could be changed overnight.
Sources said that some of the fifth and nursery division clubs of the IFA have been changed to the six PLS sides which will have to be approved by the Governing Body of the Bengal body.
Southfolk Club is expected to become Euro Musketeers, Illysium Club to be rechristened as Howrah Manchester, Evergreen Club becoming Siliguri Bengal Tuskers, Kasba Samanyay to be changed to Haldia Heroes, Central Calcutta Veterans Club set to be changed to Kolkata Chameleons while Duttabagan Satadal taking the name Durgapur franchise.
IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguly, however, said that the necessary documents would be provided by Monday morning before the AIFF Emergency Committee meeting starts.
"All the documents will reach the AIFF on Monday before the Emergency Committee meeting begins. The players will get clearance before the FIFA international transfer deadline," Ganguly told PTI from Kolkata.
Asked how the documents would be ready before the names of the new PLS clubs are being approved by the IFA General Body which is expected to meet on February 14 or 15, Ganguly said, "I can't explain the technicalities but all the documents will reach the AIFF in time."