We need money to save Indian football, says AIFF secretary

Six I-League clubs had sent a letter to FIFA to intervene in the ongoing tussle with the AIFF.

The AIFF secretary Kushal Das assured steps were being taken to handle the situation arising out of six I-League clubs protesting against the move to make the franchise-based Indian Super League as the main competition.   -  M. PERIASAMY

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday admitted the game faced a “crisis” in the wake of a communication from FIFA, the world’s governing body, on the current state of the National League.

The AIFF secretary Kushal Das, speaking to a select group of journalists, assured steps were being taken to handle the situation arising out of six I-League clubs protesting against the move to make the franchise-based Indian Super League as the main competition.

“We are looking at all possibilities to organise a unified league with a relegation system. But there are issues – financial and organizational. It is no rocket science that we need money to save Indian football. We need investors in Indian football who can help sustain the financial aspect of conducting the game,” Das said.

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Six I-League clubs had sent a letter to FIFA to intervene in the ongoing tussle with the AIFF. The world body sought a response from the AIFF. “We have to engage with FIFA,” said Das. “We also have to engage with the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). We have to understand and accept the financial obligations for the smooth conduct of football in the country.”

The AIFF, stressed Das, would need some time to settle the issue. “It won’t happen overnight. We may need a three-year period to tackle the participation agreement which is the stumbling block. How to lessen the financial burden on the clubs who would need to give a guarantee. We have requested AFC and FIFA to visit and see the problems we face.”

Das was candid when he said, “It is not possible (at the moment) to tackle the financial challenges the clubs face (of participation assurances). There are issues with TV coverage too. It is a huge problem. Honestly, it is good it (the problem) has happened now. The problem needs to be addressed.”