Could the IFA face Calcutta Premier Division club rebellion?
The smaller Kolkata clubs playing in the Calcutta Premier Division are facing problems in running their teams through the football seasons and are now forming a joint front to face the Indian Football Association (West Bengal) on this issue.There have been numerous meetings without the big three I-League clubs – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Prayag United – in the last few days. In the past, many small clubs would only run their teams for three to four months, now you have to at least run the teams for six months for the preliminary stage and if you qualify for the playoffs then it could be nine or even 10 months, which the clubs say is not possible with their available funding.
In the past, the Calcutta Premier Division used to be run across the monsoon from June to September, sometimes spilling over into October, but with the AIFF implementing their standardization and coordination of I-League and local leagues, it means that the big teams continue to play in the local leagues but only midweek fixtures are possible which mean that local leagues, be it Calcutta, Goa or Mumbai are spread across months.
The smaller Kolkata clubs, many who call themselves professional, have to understand that with changing times the calendar and transfer periods have been adjusted by the national body to fit top level professional football in India.
But the IFA is also at fault as matches have been postponed without any reasoning, though it is using more grounds in and around Kolkata, while the Calcutta Premier Division has been blown-up with 19 teams participating this season. A slimmer, shorter duration Premier Division might be the solution for the future, which suits all sides.