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2013-14 I-League format and Pailan Arrows’ future remain undecided

Amoy Ghoshal
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
Modified 26 Jun 2013, 23:29 IST

league

The format of the 2013-14 I-League remains uncertain as the clubs haven’t approved the proposed conference-style model and as a result have been asked by the I-League committee to send their recommendations, based on which a decision will be taken jointly.

A meeting of the I-League committee was held on Wednesday at the AIFF house in New Delhi in the presence of all confirmed I-League teams for next season (barring Mohun Bagan, who are still banned from such meetings) and a representative of Indian FA’s commercial partners IMG-Reliance.

The pros and cons of having the proposed eastern and western conferences were discussed in the meeting but no decision was taken.

It was earlier reported that the Federation would spend at least Rs 7 crore on team’s travel expenses during the season and if the conference model is approved, they would be able to save up to Rs 1.8 crore. But, clubs believe AIFF will recover almost half of that amount through the participation fee which was increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.

Sportskeeda learnt that in their recommendations, clubs seek a decrease in the participation money to around Rs 3.5 lakh and also want the AIFF to retain the old home and away format in the I-League. The teams believe that having the conference model will take the gloss away from an already fading product as many inter-regional rivals won’t be in action.

“Kolkata vs Goa has been the most exciting battle in the I-League. With the conference model, many teams won’t be able to play each other and that is not good for the competition. In any case there is the local league in Kolkata and Goa so it won’t be much fun for the fans if they see the same fixtures. Therefore we want the AIFF to maintain the old format and will recommend the same jointly,” one of the club representatives told Sportskeeda after the meeting.

Besides the I-League format, the future of AIFF’s developmental side Pailan Arrows also remains undecided. In a press release, AIFF informed that the inclusion of Arrows will be finalised based on the decision of the emergency/executive committee, which will meet next month.

The franchise from Kerala have already announced that they won’t be taking part in this season’s I-League as they couldn’t meet the financial demands for now. As a result, if Arrows are included, the 2013-14 I-League could comprise of 15 teams, something which the clubs could oppose as well because it would leave one team not in action in every round.

IMG-Reliance have shown their interest in continuing the Arrows project, which has been the most successful youth development program in Indian football in recent times so the future of the federation’s developmental team is once again looking bright although official confirmation is awaited. The 2013-14 I-League is likely to start on the weekend of September 20.

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Among other points discussed, the I-League committee informed clubs that as per the AFC criteria, from 2017 onwards each team would require a coach, who possesses a Pro-License.

Clubs were also informed that from the 2014-15 campaign, no team would be allowed to have a technical director who doesn’t have an A-license coaching degree.

This would be a setback to legends like Subhash Bhowmick, Sukhwinder Singh and Subroto Bhattacharya as they don’t have a coaching qualification.

Clubs also requested for the increase of foreigners in the second division from one to two to bring it in line with the state leagues and pleaded for a year’s extension of having a marquee player in their club from the 2014-15 season onwards.

The AIFF agreed to place the recommendations in the next executive/emergency committee meeting for a final decision.

Published 26 Jun 2013, 21:09 IST
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