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Football set to get a kick with IPL-like tournament

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on August 02, 2013 Published on August 02, 2013

SPORTS BUZZ

September is set to witness an auction for football players with teams up for grabs through a bidding process, on the lines of the Indian Premier League. IMG-Reliance, the commercial partner of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), will unveil their mega plans for a tournament expected to glamorise the sport in the country.

Despite the ongoing rift between the I-League clubs and IMG-Reliance, which has delayed the auction by a month, 39 players have signed up for their pre-season training with former East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan.

At the executive committee meeting of the football association on August 1, IMG-Reliance presented a detailed progress plan on the new tournament.

AIFF President Praful Patel has asked all stakeholders to work together in strengthening the sport in the country. The proposed franchise-style football tournament would be booster to the sport and would not be in conflict with the national league, Patel said.

Several I-League clubs are unsupportive to the proposed league, terming it unnecessary and intangible to football’s progress in India. I-League clubs, under the aegis of I-League Professional Football Clubs Association, have boycotted the new league, by not associating with any player who has pledged allegiance with IMG-Reliance.

Speaking about I-League clubs refusing to release players in a bid to scuttle the IPL-like tournament, Patel said four AIFF vice-presidents — Subrata Dutta, Srinivas Dempo, Larsing Ming and KM Mather — have been asked to communicate to the I-League clubs, the urgency of releasing players.

Incidentally, Dempo and Ming of Shillong Lajong are I-League club owners.

Even as IMG-Reliance shared their tournament’s structure and implementation at Thursday's meeting, committee members were told that talks were on with marquee international players and renowned World Cup stars to be part of the tournament.

IMG-Reliance gave an update on the players signed, venue booking for the tournament and their plans for stadium refurbishment.

The tournament is proposed to be held between January 15 and March 30 and is to have eight city-based franchise teams.

> amritanair.ghaswalla@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 02, 2013
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