AIFF and IMG-R are responsible for I-League degradation – Churchill Brothers CEO Valanka Alemao
IMG-Reliance have made it clear that they would only be disclosing the plans regarding their newly-proposed IPL-style tournament with I-League clubs individually and not under the banner of IPFCA as the I-League clubs’ body is not recognised by the AIFF.
This hasn’t gone down well with Churchill Brothers CEO Valanka Alemao, who was in the six-member panel that IPFCA had formed to meet IMG-R last week.
“Firstly, I would like to reiterate that whatever I hear regarding this new tournament is only through media reports. It was only last week that IMG-Reliance informed via the AIFF that they are interested to meet but then it was reported that they only want to deal with clubs individually. If that’s the case, then it is a very unfair procedure,” Valanka told Sportskeeda.
In response to the claim that the IPFCA are not recognised by the AIFF, the I-League’s only woman CEO hit out at the federation and its commercial and marketing partners for allowing the I-League brand to fade.
“We (IPFCA) are not recognised by the AIFF but have they fulfilled all the criteria that a federation needs to? The norm worldwide is to make the country’s domestic league a separate legal entity but that till now hasn’t happened for the I-League.
“I have repeatedly been saying that if you (AIFF) cannot run the league give the clubs the power to do so, we are more than happy to take that responsibility. But that still doesn’t happen and the I-League has been allowed to degrade and AIFF and their partners (IMG-Reliance) are responsible. Therefore the priority should be to refurbish the I-League and bring changes within the existing system and not create a new tournament,” Valanka added.
IMG-Reliance are expected to make their final presentation on the newly-proposed tournament at the AIFF executive committee meeting tomorrow in New Delhi and the I-League winning CEO once again questioned the need of an IPL in Indian football by citing examples of major football countries.
“I have nothing against the AIFF or IMG-Reliance but I don’t understand how a new tournament on the lines of cricket’s IPL will benefit Indian football. Nowhere in the world have we heard of such a competition. Do World Cup winners like Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany etc. have such a tournament? Then, why India?
“Recently, even reputed football analyst Paul Masefield pointed out the turmoil in Indonesian football due to the existence of two domestic leagues. Surely we don’t want Indian football to suffer the same way. In my eyes, a new tournament would only kill the sport in our country. So, I just don’t get why AIFF are allowing it to happen,” Valanka stated.
Work in the community
Valanka further stated that the two-time Indian champions are aiming to enhance their brand in the near future by working heavily with kids both on and off the pitch.
“We are going to work with schools in Goa and also the underprivileged children from NGOs in the state by giving them free coaching. Our players will spend time with the kids and we also aim to teach them about life in general,” she concluded.