Kushal Das says IMG-Reliance doesn’t interfere in AIFF’s decision-making

The All India Football Federations (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said on Monday that the AIFF's commercial partner, IMG-Reliance, does not affect the Federation's decision-making.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das termed the allegations of a conflict of interest against him over the signing of Masters Rights Agreement (MRA) between the federation and IMG-Reliance in 2010 as “absolutely false”.   -  Getty Images

Amid the standoff with I-League clubs, All India Football Federation's (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das, on Monday, brushed aside allegations that the Federation was acting on the directions of its commercial partner, IMG-Reliance.

Das termed the allegations of conflict of interest against him over the signing of Masters Rights Agreement (MRA) between the federation and IMG-Reliance in 2010 as “absolutely false”.

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When asked if the AIFF was working at the behest of its commercial partners, Das told PTI: “They are our commercial partners and have a say in a few things in terms of mainly commercial issues. But they have never interfered in any judicial body decision making or in standing committee meetings.”

“For example, Sundar Raman (CEO of Reliance Sports) was part of the technical committee and, just like any other members in any other body, he just asked his questions but did not try to influence.

“Yes, if the commercial rights are anywhere affected then they will of course be involved because the commercial rights are owned by them and it is fair for them to say that,” he added.

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Through a series of tweets, Minerva Punjab FC Ranjit Bajaj has claimed that Das, a former employee of IMG, had a hand in the signing of the MRA.

“No date on the contract. Reason? Mr. Kushal Das was an employee of IMG RELIANCE days before he was planted in AIFF to sign this deal on behalf of AIFF. He was appointed GS in October 2010, #illegalMRA also signed in same month Oct 2010!!! CONFLICT OF INTEREST #FootballScam,” Bajaj tweeted.

“How can KUSHAL DAS an ex-employee of IMG RELIANCE join AIFF as GS and within a matter of days sign a deal on behalf of AIFF selling @IndianFootball @ILeagueOfficial just days after being appointed,” Bajaj questioned.

However, Das, who had joined the AIFF from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2010, refuted the allegations.

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“When I was with IMG, there was no joint venture with Reliance. The  joint venture with Reliance happened after I left (IMG). Then I went to ICC and during that time they formed the joint venture, which was called IMG-Reliance.

“The management of IMG at that time was completely different because IMG was sold to another guy. The allegation that I worked for IMG-Reliance is absolutely false.

“From the ICC, I came to AIFF because (former BCCI president) Mr. (Sharad) Pawar had told me ‘what are you doing here, Indian football has got some interesting developments, why don’t you come here’,” Das said