AIFF chief Patel should resign: Prasun Banerjee
Mumbai, June 25 (IANS) India football great Prasun Banerjee has demanded All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel's resignation as he expressed concern about the state of football in the country after Goan club giants Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa decided to pull out of the I-League.
Banerjee, who is a Member of Parliament, said he would raise this issue in the Lok Sabha monsoon session and claimed that Patel, AIFF president since 2009, is "totally unfit" for the job.
"Praful Patel doesn't love the game and is totally unfit to run Indian football. I strongly opine that he should vacate his post at the earliest and I will also raise this issue in the next session of Lok Sabha," Banerjee was quoted as saying by goal.com on Friday.
Indian football on Friday received a body blow as Salgaocar FC and Sporting announced that they will not take part in the 2016-17 I-league season. They joined Pune FC, Bharat FC, Royal Wahingdoh to pull out of I-League in the last couple of years.
Sporting Goa finished fourth in the 2015-16 edition of the league while Salgaocar finished seventh.
Banerjee added: "Just count how many teams have shut shop in the last few years. What do these people like Kushal Das understand about the game? At least during the Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi era, he requested all experts to express their concerns in seminars. Patel doesn't even hear the former India players."
"For example, they could have asked for the opinion of legends like Inder Singh in this matter. It is absolutely shocking that two more clubs have fallen victim to this. Just think about the contribution of JCT and Salgaocar to Indian football and you will understand what exactly we are missing.
"Keep this in writing that I will raise this issue in the parliament also when the monsoon session starts next month. I will ask the Sports Minister (Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, Independent Charge) in the zero hour about what he plans to do to do away with this menace. He (Patel) will end up killing Indian football otherwise." he added.
The former Mohun Bagan player, who was also an Arjuna Awardee in 1979, believes that the AIFF hasn't played any role in the development of Indian players.
"I was so happy to see India win against Laos with a big margin. But what happens to the players now? Where will they play with clubs closing down and the ISL having so many foreigners? I don't have anything against the ISL. But that doesn't mean that the Federation will not think about Indian players. We used to rule at the continental level and see where we are now," the 61-year old, who is widely regarded as one of the best central defensive midfielders the country has ever seen, said.
"They have also included my name in the technical committee, but I have never received any letter or any form of communication from them. Now people ask me why do I speak up against AIFF when their website shows me as a member of the committee? This gives you a fair idea about how the game is run here," Banerjee concluded.