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Sahara, Zindal group showing interest to introduce clubs in I-League

Sourradeep Pakrashi

In a bid to bring little more professionalise the game, more precisely the ongoing I-League, the All India Footbll Federation (AIFF) has decided to invite direct entries for two corporate clubs from the next edition of the eliute I-league. The Federation has also set a few imporatent criterions, fulfilling the lisencing conditions, made by Asian Football Confederations (AFC). The major criterions are the club must be run by a company. The club must have own ground and even a stadium. And th club must have to run youth development programme seriously.
Aiming at the accumulation of money as a whole in Indian football, the AIFF’s decision has reportedly been welcomed by a section of the country’s corporate houses. This is being claimed by the Federation top brass. The first day of its judgement is 5 March, The football fraternity will carefully watch the meeting on 5 March at the Football House in Dwarka, New Delhi whether the corporates really turn up and sow their interest to invest into the Indian football through introducting its own clubs.
Leisure Sports Management (LSM), the sports management group that was the marketing agent of AIFF during a span of 15 years from 1982 and 1997, is trying to be back in the Indian football after its contract was terminated by the then AIFF top brass in 1998. LSM representative will be present at the meeting that is being called ‘Investors Meet’. And it has been learnt that through its marketing agent, country’s one of the big corporates that has been also a big investor in Indian sports so far, Sahara Group has shown interest on introducing a club for the next edition of I-League. Sources close to Sahara Group, revealed, “Yes, we have been going through the papers sent by the AIFF and as LSM is our marketing agent, we have asked them to appear at the investors meet in Delhi on 5 March.” According to a top Federation executive, Sahara Group has already its own stadium in Pune, And besides their one-andhalf month engagement in the cricket IPL, the remaining ten or eleven months can easily be used for the football. And the company already a company named Sahara Adventure Sports Pvt. Ltd. The AIFF official informed that the company is planning to introduce its football club under the bannr of this company.
Simultaneously, another two companies, one from Punjab and another from Maharastra have reportedly shown interest on joining the I-League. And above all, the AIFF president Mr Prafulla Patel seems highly optimisitic about Zindal Group’s joining the I-League with a club. It is learnt that the company might take over a Delhi based football club.

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