AIFF faces financial crunch

IMG-Reliance has not cleared its dues for the last two quarters, due to which the AIFF hasn’t yet been able to hand over the prize money of ₹1 crore to Chennai City FC, the newest I-League champion.

Chennai City FC celebrates its maiden I-League title win. The club is yet to receive its prize money. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is facing a financial crisis due to alleged “non-payment of dues” amounting to ₹25 crore by commercial partner IMG-Reliance.

IMG-Reliance has not cleared its dues for the last two quarters, due to which the AIFF hasn’t yet been able to hand the award of ₹1 crore to Chennai City FC, the newest I-League champion. The AIFF has also failed to pay the referees and clear travelling costs. As per the agreement signed in 2010 between AIFF and IMG-Reliance, the AIFF is entitled to receive an annual payment of ₹50 crore from its commercial partner.

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Sundar Raman, the Reliance Sports CEO and a member of one of AIFF’s committee, could not be reached for a comment on the issue.

Confirming the non-payment of prize money, Rohit Ramesh, the Chennai City FC CEO, said: “We hope that we will get the prize money. We are supposed to get what we deserve. I reached out to them (AIFF) officially regarding prize money by mail, but did not get any response.”

“We are supposed to get ₹1 crore as winners. We got the big cheque on the day the championship was decided but not money,” he added.

'Holding the AIFF to ransom'

It is learnt that IMG-Reliance, also the promoter of the Indian Super League, wanted the AIFF to impose heavy fines on I-League clubs for pulling out of the Super Cup. “Besides the fine on I-League clubs, they also wanted the ISL to be declared the main league, which has been done now and could be rubber-stamped in the AIFF executive committee on July 3. This way they are holding the AIFF to ransom,” a source said.

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Minerva Punjab FC, which has been at loggerheads with the AIFF over various issues, also hit out at the federation and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), a subsidiary to Reliance, for non-payment of dues.

 

Asked about the financial crunch, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said: “AIFF has always been struggling. We just about manage to balance our book. We do so many activities, there is the youth league, the national championship, so much activity for the national team. There is this Inter-Continental Cup now happening every year, national team playing 10-12 matches every year.”

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