Tag Archives: I-league

East Bengal pinning hopes on Khalid Jamil

East Bengal, Football, Khalid Jamil, I-league, Soccer, Kolkata, Indianfootball

After a great season with the Mizoram side Aizawl FC, Khalid Jamil will descend the north-eastern hills to take over the Kolkata side East Bengal. Khalid performed magic with Aizawl FC by guiding them to the summit of the I-league, whereas East Bengal had a season to forget as their challenge under Aussie coach Trevor Morgan petered out in the final phase of the league.

Khalid Jamil will be eager to prove himself by managing a Kolkata club and ascertain that his incredible run with Aizawl FC was not just a flash in the pan. According to reports, Khalid has signed a deal worth 1.25 crores for two years, which will make him the highest earning Indian coach ever.

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the upcoming football season, but East Bengal has been very quick in snapping up players and the head coach. A positive sign, as the club, seems to be taking the CFL campaign that will start in August quite seriously. A good performance in the CFL could be a good platform to build upon for the other bigger challenges that are awaiting the team in the next season.

East Bengal roping in the I-league winning coach shows a positive intent from the club, and this also offers some relief for their fans and the supporters of other I-league clubs as well. With news of clubs pulling out and shutting down flying thick and fast, this move by East Bengal might just force some other clubs to rethink their options and might want to test the waters for some more years.

After a lot of drama, East Bengal missed out on their chance to play in the Indian Super League due to differences on certain terms they had to agree to join the league. And with AIFF scheming to hold both the leagues (ISL & I-league) in parallel, there are concerns that I-league clubs will not be able to retain the best players as they will struggle to compete with financially sound ISL franchises. However, Khalid Jamil remained entirely oblivious to these changes as he quipped “Football will remain the same, be it ISL or I-League,” during the unveiling.

East Bengal has not had the best of its time in the top tier of Indian football ever since National Football League was re-branded to I-league in 2007. With a set of an explosive fan base and an equally crazy management to deal with, it would be interesting to see how Khalid Jamil’s foray into Kolkata Football would unfold.

Perhaps, Khalid is the answer for that ever evading I-league trophy!

The Merger Rant

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFC

Who wouldn’t get frustrated and who wouldn’t want to rant about the mess that is Indian football. A visibly frustrated Nevin Thomas decided to have a go at it.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

The mess that is Indian football

‘A merged league is good for Indian football’, said a very important All India Football Federation official recently. The Indian football players echoed it (because it’s really not in our culture to voice concerns even if there were any). Foreign stars, with very little idea of how football works in India, were saying the same things too. After all, it was just common sense.

BECAUSE:

  1. Longer league means stability for players. They don’t have to keep jumping clubs every three months.
  2. Proper rest. They aren’t playing 3 games (2 of which went all the way to penalties) in 7 days.

READ: Steve Coppell’s take on ISL finals

  1. Going in sync with international leagues will allow smooth transfers of players (IN and OUT).
  2. We wouldn’t have to call it 2016-17 I-League when it’s actually held only in 2017 (OCD nightmares, you see).

The list, I’m sure, goes on and on. And as for the cons, I can’t think of anything apart from a few marquees (oldies) turning down ISL due to the longer duration of the league. Ok, so a few T-shirts won’t be sold. Who cares?

What is actually bewildering is how the AIFF has thought about all these ONLY after kick-starting a league. See, there was this football league, which in 2007 was rebranded as ‘I-League’, running in the country. Why didn’t AIFF try improving the league instead of starting a new one? Ok, it wasn’t doing so well, with teams pulling out faster than Sunil Chhetri could score goals. But, to be fair to them, they had valid reasons. How do you survive (financially) in a league that gets ZERO promotion? Blimey, I can’t for the life of me remember the last time when I saw ISL-like efforts being put in for what is still India’s gateway to the Asian club championships.

Which is why it was quite exciting (regardless of the ‘seize the means of production’ T-shirts I wear) to see money-minded IMG-Reliance (International Management Group-Reliance Industries Limited) buying out AIFF’s commercial rights in 2010.

But things didn’t exactly as some of us had hoped. The new-comer continued the trend of not giving a duck about I-League and then launched a completely different league — a shorter, IPL-style (thankfully, with no cheerleader nonsense) Indian Super League.

I know it has been three seasons now, but I am yet to figure out why there was a need to split Indian football into two, when there was already an existing league that complied to all the AFC rules.  If you had the money and the PR machinery to start a new league with a BANG, why wasn’t it utilised to boost the existing model?

So I decided to ask around through a poll on Twitter and here are some of the reasons I got:

1) Better packaging: A lot of people said the ISL made football in India way more ‘watchable’. In other words, it was better packaged for the Indian audience. 7 pm kick-off was ideal for office-goers as compared to the 4pm matches of I-League. Star Sports was doing a better job than Ten Sports in broadcast – better commentary, better camera angles, better pundits… basically better everything.

2) I-League’s failure: Years of lacklustre performances and mismanagement had given I-League such a bad name that it made more sense to start something fresh. If I was a sponsor, I would want to invest in something new (especially with the financial backing of IMG-Reliance) than a stale I-Leauge.

3) Moving away from family set-up: Indian football clubs have been traditionally run by wealthy families. With no self-sustaining mechanism in place for these clubs, AIFF thought it was better to encourage more corporate-sponsored teams. In short, ISL was an attempt to kill the likes of Salgaocar FC and encourage more Bengaluru FCs.

Barring point number two, all the other reasons I was told on my poll in Twitter, did not involve the need to start a new league though. Add eight new corporate sponsored (with solid financial backing) clubs to I-League and the pressure would have pushed family-run clubs to either pull out OR up their game, right? And, how difficult would it have been to have late kick-offs to make I-League more TV friendly?

We surely have enough stadiums.

READ Joy Battacharjya’s piece on stadium utilisation

And I’m sure TV guys would have been more than OK with broadcasting the game at 7 pm instead of 4 pm.

ESPN senior assistant editor Debayan Sen’s tweet sums the Indian football scenes the best up. IMG-Reliance wanted something completely in its control and AIFF happily gave a thumbs-up signal. Which would have been OK, had all stakeholders been consulted.  But were they?

 

Ever since the takeover, though, the agenda of AIFF seems to be somehow move away from the existing football big-guns. More corporate backed teams, less family-run clubs. The idea, as told to me by AIFF VP Subrata Dutta in an interview, is to ensure all clubs have a sustainable model for revenue generation. The baffling fact is how AIFF decided that family-run clubs cannot find a model but corporate-run teams can. Apart from BFC, no corporate-run club has scaled the zenith of Indian football. It is fair to say, ISL was a big nail in the coffin for all the I-League clubs which were already in scarcity of funds. The sponsors had something better to invest in and the likes of Royal Wahingdoh (exciting team from Shillong), and the Goan clubs, including Dempo SC (one of the most successful team in history of Indian football league), cut their ties with the I-League. Another theory is that a new league was always in the plans for IMG-R but Bengaluru FC’s phenomenal success caused the sudden plunge. BFC showed there is a clear way of succeeding in Indian football, a model other clubs soon tried to emulate, and the rising popularity of the I-League created concerns for the team at IMG-R plotting a new league.

Now, three seasons into the so-called football revolution, AIFF wants a League merger — for the better of football, it claims. But, like the idea of ISL, was this merger idea fast-forwarded due to BFC’s success in the Asian arena? It would look funny to the outside world that the league with the likes for Forlan and Malouda playing is not the one representing India in Asia. And I’m sure, BFC’s success has got the think-tanks at IMG-R and ISL teams licking their lips at the idea of more lucrative sponsorship deals.

But there are some problems with the merger plans. AIFF has agreed a deal with these ISL clubs that guarantees them no relegation for around eight seasons. So the top league, after the merger, will have teams playing without any relegation. The second tier league, which will be today’s I-League, what AFC recognises as India’s football league, will have no scope of promotion into the new top league, though, relegation still remains.

Basically, all the clubs who have traditionally existed, including big guns such as Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, now face the threat of not playing in the top league. While they can still compete in the second tier league, it remains highly unlikely that they will, considering the difficulty it will face in attracting potential sponsors with no titles to win or AFC competitions to take part.

Is it even fair to these teams who have done so much for Indian football? “We haven’t made any decision on which teams get to play top league and which don’t,” said an AIFF big shot when I asked.  “After Under-17 world cup, the new league will start,” said another AIFF biggie, recently in a press conference. So when will we ever get a confirmation on who will play where? Less than a year to go before the big shake-up and teams do not even know where they will be playing. So how can they sign a good quality player for a long term deal?

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA

The Goan clubs have already left due to the proposed new roadmap for Indian football. Last year the likes of Royal Wahindoh and Pune FC cited the very same reasons for their exit, though AIFF stuck to its stance that these clubs failed to reach the financial criteria required to play in the top division.

Yet, barring BFC, the corporates have struggled to make the cut too. If Bharat FC had done enough to fulfill the criteria, then why did they pull out after a brief period?

Story made short — IMG-R walked into Indian football and did whatever it wanted to.

Nobody knows how many teams from the I-League will make it to the top-division. Nobody knows what the criteria will be. Will Kolkata have Bagan, East Bengal and ATK when many states won’t even have one team?

There hasn’t been a shortage of excuses though. One phrase given by most AIFF officials in their twisted justification is — ‘many clubs don’t fulfill the AFC requirements’. Apparently many Indian clubs do not have (financially and infrastructure-wise, I assume) to have an AFC club license. So why were they given the rights in the first place? And are we to assume every club that started atleast in the I-League era will fulfill these criteria?

In a way, AIFF is suggesting that only clubs fulfilling the set of rules will have a chance of making it to the top league after the proposed merger.

So I downloaded the 70-page-long AFC club licensing criteria for 2016 and went through it to find out what these possible reasons could be (the OCD kicked in)

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFCTo be honest, while the I-League clubs seem to be safe on the infrastructure demands, the financial part is slightly murky, with AFC wanting historic and future information. Clubs such has Salgaocar, which has relied on family wealth, might struggle to produce the required financial documents. Or so I think (I would love to be wrong).

Scroll reported that Salgaocar had failed to participate in the licensing process.

But one is to assume most clubs will be able to produce the required documents, considering how the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan play in the AFC tournaments most seasons.

And mind you, while AIFF will not openly admit it, it’s the ISL clubs who will struggle a lot more to match the AFC criteria. For example the foreign player rule:

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFC

It doesnt mean the ISL clubs can’t take part. But they will have a lot of foreign players who won’t be allowed to play, which is an unnecessary burden on team wages. Will the foreign stars in the team be OK with missing out on Asia’s top league? Also, barring Goa, which other team has player with 3 foreign players or lesser, and succeeded in ISL?

The great Indian football league merger, at least according to me, should be delayed till ISL teams have more Indians playing. And once that is achieved, it can merge into I-League as one big, fat league (with around 16 teams) and we can thereafter replicate the 9-month league format that most countries have. Rather than rush to a merger, push ISL teams to  field more Indians, allow I-league to grow simultaneously, at least organically, if you do not want to promote it (AIFF has admitted that I-League TV viewership and stadium turn-out has increased every year), and in two years time, come up with a structure that benefits all stakeholders of Indian football. (Unified league in India likely after U-17 World Cup – Kushal Das)

But, my brain tells me AIFF and IMG-R won’t wait that long. Actually, AIFF Gen. Sec said it too.

If Oxford dictionary’s definition of ‘stockholm syndrome’ as “Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor” is something to go by, then it perfectly describes the relationship between AIFF and IMG-Reliance. The Indian football federation seems to have completely lost the plot, and now, in its bid to survive, has developed an unjustifiable affection for IMG-R.

One can only be an Andy Dufresne (that’s your cue to watch Shawshank Redemption if you haven’t yet) and HOPE the merger will not mark the end of a legacy in Indian football.

This blog post is just a rant and it has nothing to do with my employers. In fact, I have a feeling they won’t like me so much after this. But, blah! As usual, I’m likely to make mistakes. I urge you to correct me wherever you think I’ve gone wrong..

Downloads:

You can download the AFC club licensing criteria here (page 33 infrastructure, page 55 financial): http://www.the-afc.com/uploads/afc/files/AFC_CLR_Booklet_2016.pdf

AFC Champions League competition regulations: http://www.the-afc.com/uploads/afc/files/acl_2015_competition_regulations_final.pdf

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das is living in a fool’s paradise – Sporting Clube de Goa

AIFF, Sporting Clube De Goa, Football, Indian Football, Goa, I-league, SCG, Flaming Oranje

Sporting Clube De Goa

The pull-out of Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa should have been a wake-up call for the AIFF to at least now set its messy house in order but instead the federation, and its ignorant general secretary, have resorted to unnecessarily pointing the accusing finger at us. In an interview to a news agency and other media channels, Das said “FC Bardez have a bigger fan following than these clubs. I have seen them in the Goa Pro League.”

Kushal Das is really cut-off from the reality. To say that a four-month old club has more fan following than us is ridiculous and a huge insult to the contribution of clubs like Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa, who have contributed immensely to the development of Indian football.

We wonder how many matches Kushal Das watched in Goa and how many I-League matches he has attended since becoming secretary?

For the ignorant Kushal Das’s knowledge, until some years ago, both clubs attracted massive crowd wherever it played. The Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, saw big attendances but since Praful Patel took over as president and Kushal Das was appointed secretary, the numbers have dwindled. Indian football’s slump is also reflected in the poor rankings and much of this is due to mismanagement by the AIFF.

The AIFF cannot blame the Goan clubs to hide its own inefficiency.

Indian football is at its lowest ebb and an ill-informed secretary doesn’t help its cause.

Kushal Das must remember that he is a paid employee of the AIFF. We have not made a living out of football but instead helped others make a living through football. It is clear that Kushal Das, who is occupying a wrong chair, has no clue about football in India and his comments reflect the deplorable state of AIFF at the moment.

Kushal Das is an embarrassment for Indian football. He must apologise for his comments which are shocking and uncalled for.

Mr. Victor G Fernandes
CEO.
SPORTING CLUBE DE GOA

Former Barcelona assistant manager Albert Roca roped in as coach by Bengaluru FC

Barcelona, Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC , I-league, football, India, Catalonia Former Barcelona Assistant Signs Two-Year Deal With Indian Champions; AFC Cup Quarterfinal Will Be Roca’s First Game In Charge

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC are delighted to announce the appointment of Albert Roca as the club’s new coach. The 53-year-old Spaniard has signed a two-year deal that keeps him with the Blues till the end of the 2017-18 season.

Roca brings with him a wealth of coaching experience at the highest level having served as an assistant to Frank Rijkaard for five seasons at Barcelona (2003-2008) during which the Catalans won the Champions League once, the La Liga twice and the Spanish Super Cup twice before following the Dutchman in the same role to Turkish club Galatasaray (2009-2010) and finally the Saudi Arabian national team (2011-2013). Roca’s last job was as manager of the El Salvador national team where he was in charge for a year.

As a player, Roca’s most notable stints were with Real Zaragoza and CE Sabadell FC in the La Liga apart from shifts with a number of clubs in the second division.

“We are very excited to announce Albert Roca as the new coach of Bengaluru FC. He is, what I would call, a major signing at the club.  Albert has been with some of the best clubs in Europe as well as spent time in developing countries because of which he will have a great sense of the challenges India would bring,” said Parth Jindal, CEO, Bengaluru FC.

“We have had a very successful three years and Albert is only going to compound the efforts we have been making. He has also done some commendable work with young players in his career and that is absolutely in line with the philosophy of BFC where we are trying to develop players into stellar talent for the future,” he added.

Roca, a resident of Grannolers in Catalonia near Barcelona, said he was excited at the prospect of joining the Blues and was confident about playing the kind of football that the club and the supporters would be proud of.

“I’m very satisfied to have signed with Bengaluru FC. They are the champions of India, have fantastic supporters and most importantly, have a great support system and a management that is always hands on and wants to stay at the top. I want to assure our supporters that we will always give it our best. I want the supporters to be happy about the way we play,” said Roca.

Roca’s first game in charge will be the AFC Cup quarterfinal against Singapore side Tampines Rovers in September; a game he reckons will be a tough challenge. “The AFC Cup quarterfinal is definitely going to be a big challenge but we will do our best to get a good result and make the semis,” he said.

The Blues coach is expected to land in Bengaluru in the fourth week of July.

 

Should Aizawl FC be relegated?

Aizawl FC, North East, Football, Mizoram, Aizawl, I-league, Relegation, Gowth, development

Before Aizawl FC played their first I-league match against Mohun Bagan,  I had not seen them play ever. Against Bagan, under their Spanish coach, Manuel Retamero Fraile, they played some amazing football. Short crisp passing and movement, which is not a very usual sight in Indian football.  Even though they lost the match 3-1, they did not look like a team who were newly promoted and looked like a solid unit. Joy to watch but not efficient enough. For all that flair and style, Aizawl was not able to convert their chances. When they played at home, matches were sold out and got good support all through the league. Eventually, they fell short and is about to get the boot from I-league. But do they really deserve to be relegated?

Should have been more ambitious and pragmatic?

Aizawl played good football but they lacked a good striker to convert those chances. It was clear that they wouldn’t have escaped relegation without some quality players. But instead of recruiting some players, they went ahead and sacked their coach.

Aizawl under Manuel Retamero Fraile : L D L W L L
Aizawl under Jahar Das : D W L D L W L D L W

As evident, their fortunes did not change drastically even after they replaced their coach. Under Jahar Das, AFC did add Joel Sunday, a Nigerian striker who scored quite a few goals for them. However, I feel they should have retained their Spanish coach and should have added some more quality players to their side. If I-league players were too costly, they should have checked for some 2nd division players. Some more quality in their squad would have definitely helped their case.

Should Aizawl FC stay up?

The northeastern region in India is currently the hotbed of Indian football, especially Mizoram. They have a very promising set up in the state in terms of league and development. No wonder there are over 40 players from Mizoram playing in I-league. This was not achieved overnight. It is the fruition of a dedicated effort over the years – the results are there to show. Mizoram’s Santosh trophy win in 2014 and their victory at the National Games is a testament to that commitment. Aizawl FC’s entry into I-league after topping the 2nd division is a gradual and logical progression in Mizoram’s football journey. The question is should we have to forcefully halt that progression?

Over the last few years, we have had many clubs coming in and going out of I-league, especially from North East. If Rangdajied was thrown out, Royal Wahindoh decided to shut down their senior team after a swashbuckling appearance in I-league. And now Aizawl is on the brink of relegation. Whatever the reasons are, this is some serious injustice to clubs from the North East where football is undergoing considerable growth and is a huge market.

Resources of these clubs from North East might not match with others in the league, but what they have is sheer passion and commitment towards the sport. Take Royal Wahingdoh for example. They withdrew from I-league, but they have been a strong presence in the U-15 League, of which they were the runners-up after going down to Minerva on penalties.

If we are to reward the North East region and their football, instead of being a destructive force, stakeholders in Indian football should handhold these clubs to success. That could only lead to more aspiring clubs from North East to vie for spots in I-league and 2nd division.

The latest edition of I-league was a nine-team affair after Royal Wahindogh and Bharat FC backing out. If Aizwal is retained in the league and with another team promoted from the 2nd division, the number of teams in the I-league for the next edition could be a respectable ten.

As the data from the poll, I conducted on FNI suggests, a lot of fans are in favor of Aizawl FC staying up in the league. It’s time the voices are heard out loud and clear – let’s hope someone is taking a note.

Bengaluru FC replace injured Walker with Michael Collins

Michael Collins, Bengaluru FC, I-league, 2016, Huddersfield Town,Blues Sign Former Huddersfield, Oxford Midfielder Till End Of 2015-16 Season

Bengaluru:  Bengaluru FC, on Thursday, announced that the club would be replacing injured midfielder Joshua Walker with fellow Englishman and midfielder Michael Collins. Walker, who missed the first two games of the season with a knee issue, faces a long enough layoff to keep him out for the rest of the season, prompting Ashley Westwood to ring in the change.

“It’s under unfortunate circumstances that we have to replace Josh with another player but this is a short, congested season which means we had to move quickly. We’ve done our due diligence on Michael and I’ve spoken with former coaches, players and current scouts on the basis of which I’ve made my choice. Michael has more than 300 games in English football under his belt, is a good character and will be a good example of a professional to everyone around,” said Westwood.

Twenty-nine-year-old Collins started his career with Huddersfield Town with whom he spent six seasons, playing 173 times and scoring 19 goals. His second substantial spell was with current League One team Scunthorpe United where he played 79 games before moves to AFC Wimbledon (loan), Oxford City and York City (loan).

Interestingly, Walker and Collins have been teammates at Scunthorpe and the duo have been exchanging notes. “I’m very excited to start this chapter of my career. I got a call from the gaffer who gave me a lowdown about the League and more after which I had a word with my family and decided that this is the right time in my career to try something new. I’ve even been speaking with Josh who keeps filling me in,” said Collins who hails from Halifax.

Collins is slated to arrive in the country over the coming week, ruling him out of the Blues first home game against Shillong Lajong on Sunday. “There’s no time to stele in and I’m going to have to blend in right away. But I don’t think that should be a worry because I’ve been keeping myself fit. I can’t wait to come over and play my part in helping the club win the League,” said Collins who has 6 caps for the Republic of Ireland at the under-21 level.

While Walker has been replaced and de-registered from the I-League, he continues to be a Bengaluru FC player. “It’s unfortunate what happened with Josh Walker but it’s a call that had to be taken. However, he still remains a Bengaluru FC player and we wish him a speedy recovery. He was brilliant for us last season and had a big hand in the successful season the club produced. We will be working with him closely to see him recover to full fitness at the earliest,” said Mustafa Ghouse, COO of Bengaluru FC.

 

BOCA JUNIORS FOOTBALL SCHOOL INDIA TO PLAY UNDER 15 I-LEAGUE

Boca Juniors Football Schools, bangalore, UNDER 15, I-league, Youth, Soccer, Bangalore, Bengaluru, GrassrootsBoca Juniors Football School India (BJFSI), the premier football training academy in Bangalore has confirmed their participation in the inaugural edition of AIFF Under 15 I-League.  This participation comes as a consequent of successful completion by Boca Juniors Football School India of the AIFF Academy Certification Program introduced earlier during the year.

BJFSI will be participating in the Under 15 I-League under Rest of India Group and the first round of matches likely to be scheduled during January 2016.

“We are delighted to achieve this milestone through our organised approach and training framework under professional and qualified coaches. This will be fantastic platform for the boys to get exposed to competitive football environment in India. We applaud AIFF on their initiative to launch Under 15 Youth League “said Petros Sideris, Technical Director, BJFSI

Robin Singh ruled out for at least 6 months!

Robin Singh, Football, SAFF Suzuki Cup, Sri Lanka, Bengaluru FC, I-league, AFC CupRobin Singh suffered knee injury while playing the group stage match against Sri Lanka in SAFF cup. He suffered the injury while scoring his second goal against Lanka and was seen writhing in pain. Afterwards, he was immediately taken to the hospital.

National team coach had confirmed the next day that injury was not serious and Robin will be available for selection for the match against Nepal. However he did not make it to the squad versus Nepal and later news emerged that Robin was ruled from the rest of the SAFF cup.

He flew to Bangalore later for further assessment of his injury. Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal has taken to twitter to confirm that Robin will be ruled for an extended period.

Looks like Robin will be out for at least 6 months and this going to be a big blow for Bengaluru FC. BFC will miss his service for I-league and AFC Cup.

 

Federation Cup to return in 2016?

Football, Indianfootball, Federation Cup, Kerala, Soccer

The I-league executive committee meeting happened today evening and news is trickling out that Federation Cup will be revived in 2016. A PTI report quotes sources inside AIFF in a report confirming this development.

“It has informally decided that AIFF is likely re-start the Federation Cup from May, 2016 after the conclusion of the I-league. It has been decided that Federation Cup will be a month-long affair rather than being a 10-day thing which has been the norm. It will be held in home and away knock-out basis,” says an unidentified AIFF official in the PTI report.

The logic behind this quick reversal of ideas is attributed to the fact that I-league will only be a nine-team affair after Royal Wahindoh’s pull out.

“Look, if it is a 9-team I-League, then each team will play only 16 I-League matches. That is an insufficient number. Now to play the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League, a club needs to play a minimum of 18 matches in a year,” the source said.

“So Federation Cup will be an 8-team affair. So at least 8 teams will get a chance to play 18 matches. The 9th team of I-League in any case will be relegated. The decision to have a one-month Federation Cup was taken on AIFF Academy Director Scott Odonell’s recommendation. It was seconded by senior vice-president Subrata Dutta,” said the official to PTI.

 

Read the PTI report here.

Mohun Bagan to fight it out in court

Mohun Bagan, Court , United Spirits Limited, McDowell, Football, I-league, Mohun Bagan to file a liquidation suit against United Spirits Limited.

Mohun Bagan A.C. has had a long standing tie-up with UB Group since 1998 as the Sponsor of the Football Team and formed a company in the name of United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd.

United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd. had executed a Sponsorship agreement with United Spirits Limited dated 11th June 2013 for 10 years to provide financial assistance of Rs. 8 crore per year and from there on the sponsorship fund was deposited to our account every month, but since November 2014 the fund was unilaterally stopped by USL without any prior intimation.

Upon our inquiry with USL (East Division) and subsequent followup at their Head office, we came to know that Shareholders did not approve the said deal in their EGM dated November 28, 2014. However, in spite of not receiving any payment, Mohun Bagan continued in their commitment to give proper mileage and visibility to the brand “McDowell” as mentioned in the agreement.

On the other hand, Mohun Bagan have constantly tried to resolve the issue on the basis of our cordial relationship with USL but all our effort was unfruitful.

After hearing the current situation the Executive Committee Members of Mohun Bagan A.C. discussed that there is no other option but to file a liquidation suit against USL and thus recommended the Board of Directors of United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd. to initiate the same as soon as possible to recover outstanding dues and implementation of the contract executed on 11th June 2013.

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