AIFF distances itself from Figo-backed Futsal league

Luis Figo launched the five-a-side Futsal League featuring eight city-based franchise teams which is to be held in the country from July 15-24.

Luis Figo will be the president of the first-ever futsal league, started by Indian entrepreneurs under the entity Premier Futsal Management private limited.   -  Vivek Bendre

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has distanced itself from the recently proposed Premier Futsal League which was launched in Mumbai by Portuguese football legend Luis Figo.

FIFA’s head of events Jaime Yarza shot off a letter to the All India Football Federation, enquiring about its affiliation to the event. But the Indian football body moved swiftly to deny their involvement.

> Watch: Luis Figo shakes a leg with Bravo for 'Champion'

"The AIFF has nothing to do with the Premier Futsal League and we have made that clear to FIFA," said Kushal Das, AIFF General Secretary. "The players affiliated to the AIFF will not be allowed to be a part of this event." > Read: Luis Figo launches Premier Futsal in India

On Tuesday, Figo launched the five-a-side Futsal League featuring eight city-based franchise teams which is to be held in the country from July 15-24. Figo, who played with distinction for top Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrid, will be the president of the first-ever futsal league, started by Indian entrepreneurs under the entity Premier Futsal Management private limited, it was announced at a media conference here. > Also read: Figo hopeful of FIFA’s future under Infantino

The tournament is to bring together 56 top Futsal players from 21 countries across the world with each franchise team comprising three international players, one international marquee soccer player and one Indian player. Each squad would be made up of 12 players.

The League, in association with Futsal Association of India, would launch a talent programme across the eight cities to identify five regional players of each team. The eight cities/states having franchise outfits are: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Goa.

Figo, the 43-year-old former FIFA World Player of the Year, said that it was a new challenge for him and he looked forward to succeeding in it as he had done as a player earlier.

“It’s a new challenge and adventure I have taken up, which I hope to make as a success and that’s why I said yes to this new project,” he told the press conference. "People love soccer and cricket out here. India has a huge population, a huge market and it offers a huge opportunity for doing sports events with great success. I am doing something positive for the sport and the country and my experience as a soccer player will hopefully help me in this development,” said Figo at the launch.