The lethargic attitude of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and their commercial partners IMG-Reliance has come to fore again as they have failed keep their word of presenting the new plan for Indian football by “around April 20” and have gone a step further by not bothering to communicate the same to the I-League clubs.
It was back in February that the I-League clubs had sent an SOS to the AIFF and IMG-Reliance to put forth their demands and questioned as to why decisions on the country’s premier league were taken without their consent given that they are the stakeholders, as opposed to the AIFF Executive Committee, which currently runs the show.
The clubs asked for an explanation from the Indian FA as to how the rights of the I-League were sold to IMG-Reliance in the first place to which they didn’t have an answer.
IMG’s Jefferson Slack, Senior Vice President, IMG Global Business Development, Football was present at the meeting and had assured the incensed clubs that they would come back with a “timeframe” on the next step in a week’s time.
On February 27, IMG-Reliance prepared a statement which was communicated to the clubs by the AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das.
“As discussed in the meeting last week that AIFF and IMG Reliance would come back with a timeframe to follow up on the meeting, IMG Reliance and AIFF are preparing plans for Indian Football for benefit of all stakeholders and take football to next level in India.
“We expect our plans to be ready in next 8 weeks after discussions with clubs, and other stakeholders. AIFF and IMG Reliance will meet clubs again with plans around 20th April.”
No Communication to the clubs
Interestingly, neither the AIFF nor IMG-Reliance have come out with a statement on as to why was there a delay on their part to present the plan for Indian football given that the days “around April 20” are more or less over, nor have they bothered to communicate when will it eventually be.
IMG-Reliance acquired the commercial rights of Indian football back in December 2010 for the next 15 years for Rs.700 crore wherein they are to radically restructure, overhaul, improve, popularize and promote the game of football throughout India, from the grassroots to the professional level and create a sustainable sporting model.
The deal is so structured that it doesn’t leave much hope for the clubs given that IMG-Reliance have to pay ‘x’ amount of money each year to the Indian FA and if any sponsorship does come in, the ‘ partners shall reap the benefits leaving the clubs empty handed despite investing over Rs.100 crore each season.
However since the deal has been signed there has been no effort on their part to communicate with the clubs and it was only when the latter demanded for a meeting that the former did convene which only highlights the poor state of affairs and mismanagement.