New national Indian Professional League in 2007/08

After a decade-long experimentation with the National Football League the All India Football Federation announced that it will take another step towards professionalising national football. Addressing media at Football House in New Dehli after a two-day workshop on club development, Asian Football Confederation general secretary Peter Velappan confirmed that Indian football clubs "will have to sign a contract to play in the AIFF pro league, which will begin from the 2007/08 season".

The AIFF's new regulations are based on AFC guidelines, AIFF regulations and the local environment, India Times reported. And clubs must comply to be eligible to participate from 2007-08.

The AIFF has circulated the following draft regulations to state associations and to clubs who have asked to submit their comments by 30 April 2006:

Draft Club Regulations


* These guidelines are recommendations by AFC in accordance with Vision India Strategic Development Plan. They set out the principles for regulatory requirements for the clubs to be eligible to participate in the AIFF Professional League.

* AIFF will develop and adopt their own Club Regulations for the AIFF Professional-League based on the AFC Guidelines, AIFF Regulations and the local environment.

*The clubs must comply with the Club Regulations established by AIFF to be eligible to participate in the AIFF Professional-League from season 2007/08. Specifically, there will be a legal contract between AIFF and the clubs participating in the Professional League. This contract will set out the contractual obligations of both AIFF and the Clubs. In particular, it will deal with the financial obligations of the clubs to AIFF and to their players.

* At the end of 2007-08 season, AFC and AIFF will review the Club Regulations and make the necessary adjustments for the subsequent season. The regulations should set higher targets for the clubs each consecutive season.


Legal Status

1. The Club should be a registered member of AIFF and/or its members.

2. The Club must be a legal entity complying with the local regulatory requirements. The club can be a corporate entity, members’ clubs, society or any other legal form permitted in India.

3. The Club must have a written constitution or statutes that set out their goals and objectives, organisation structures, ownership and administration. AIFF will oblige the clubs to include specific clauses governing

the operation of the clubs, their participation in the Professional League, their obligations to the League and AIFF and a code of conduct.

4. The Clubs must commit to and abide by a Code of Conduct governing the behaviour of its officials, technical staff and players.

5. The Club must specify a designated officer (or officers) who is (are) legally responsible for the Club and can sign binding contracts and agreements on behalf of the club.

6. The Club must abide with their constitution or statutes and must comply with all the legal and reporting requirements of legislation relevant to their status.

Structure and Administration

7. The club must have a Board, Management Committee or similar decision-making body, which has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the club and to appoint persons to implement such decisions and to administer the club.

8. The club must have a Head of Administration (General Manager, General Secretary or Executive Secretary). The Head of Administration must be a full-time position and must be consistently available and capable of managing the business of the club.

9. The Club must have a full-time Marketing/Development manager.

10. The Club must have a full-time event manager.

11. The Club must have an office for its administrative operations. The office should be equipped with modern telecommunication facilities.

12. The administration must have the capacity to deal efficiently with all decisions, instructions and requests of AIFF and the AIFF Professional-League.

13. The Club must have the capability to organise matches to the standard required by the AIFF Professional-League. The Club is responsible for the safety and security of referees, visiting teams, officials and fans. The Club will appoint a competent official to be responsible for all match arrangements and event management at designated home matches.

14. The Club will appoint a competent official to be the media officer for the club.
The Club must provide AIFF with written evidence that they are structured as above and have the capabilities specified. This will include the name and job descriptions of the people with the responsibility for the roles specified in the AIFF Club Regulations.


15. The club must have guaranteed financial resources that ensure it can meet its financial commitments for the duration of the season, with written evidence and guarantees supplied to AIFF.

16. The club must provide a budget plan to the AIFF that projects its income and expenditure for the season. AIFF is entitled to screen the documents and assess whether the club is able to financially sustain

its participation in the AIFF Professional-League. These documents must be submitted six weeks prior to the commencement of the League each season.

17. Not more than 70% of the budget can be spent on players and technical staff. At least 10% must be spent on youth development programmes with 10% on administration and 10% on facilities. (As the clubs develop, the proportion of the annual budget spent on players and technical staff should be further reduced.)

18. The Club must have the capacity to sell and control the ticketing for its ‘home’ matches. AIFF will specify the specific requirements for the clubs in this area.

19. A sponsorship for a minimum of two seasons duration for the club is strongly recommended, aimed at securing a stable foundation for the development of the club.

20. The club should establish and keep proper financial records. The club should set up and maintain an auditing mechanism on its financial performance.

21. The Clubs must provide audited accounts, on a confidential basis, to the independent AIFF Club Regulation Committee, within two months of the end of each season.

Access to Facilities

22. The Club must have access to a ‘home’ stadium for all its designated ‘home’ matches at the time scheduled by the AIFF Professional-League. This must be in the form of a written agreement between the club and the stadium owner. A copy of this agreement must be provided to AIFF. (AFC recognise that the local authorities must be consulted and their agreement received. The police (security) issue is particularly important. The objective is for the club to have guaranteed access to the stadium for its allocated home matches throughout the season).

23. The ‘Home’ stadium must have:

¨ Good playing surface

¨ Dressing rooms (Condition and facilities to be specified by AIFF)

¨ Referees room (Condition and facilities to be specified by AIFF)

¨ Administration rooms (Condition and facilities to be specified by AIFF)

¨ Media facilities for print, radio, live TV broadcast and electronic (Condition and facilities to be specified by AIFF)

¨ Conference & interview room

¨ Medical room

¨ Spectator facilities (including VIP area, hospitality area, family area and covered seating). Each area must be secure and have the facilities necessary.

24. The Club must designate an alternate home stadium to be used when its official home stadium is not available. This alternative stadium must have the facilities specified in these regulations.

25. The club must have access to adequate training facilities when required. This must be for a minimum of fifteen hours per week. This access must be in the form of a written agreement between the club and the owner of the facilities. A copy of this agreement must be provided to AIFF.

26. The training facilities must have the following.

¨ A full sized football pitch of good quality

¨ Balls, cones and other necessary training equipments

¨ Changing and shower facilities.

¨ Gymnasium

¨ Treatment room

(The quality and suitability of the training facilities must be approved by AIFF)

Technical & Youth Development

27. The club will have a minimum of twenty and a maximum of twenty-five players registered with AIFF for its senior team.

28. The club must establish written contractual relationships with its coaches and its players. A standardized contract will be used.

29. For season 2007/08, The Head Coach of the club must have a minimum of AFC ‘B’ License. AFC, jointly with AIFF, will organise a ‘B’ Licence course, for both new and existing coaches, in September 2006. For season 2009/10, the minimum requirement for the Head Coach of the club will be an AFC ‘A’ License. AIFF can specify higher coaching qualifications if this is practical. Also qualifications should be specified for assistant coaches, youth coaches and other technical staff.

30. The players must have access to sports medicine services and treatments. The players should have insurance coverage for their injuries and accidents occurring when playing, training and travelling. (AIFF need to specify the precise requirements)

31. Each club must appoint a club doctor (available as and when required) who is a specialist in the treatment of sports injuries to ensure that the players receive speedy and expert treatment for injuries

32. Each club must have a full-time qualified physiotherapist who is qualified in sports injuries. (AIFF will specify the qualifications required.)

33. The Club must participate in the league in the spirit of fair play and must accept all decisions made by the AIFF, the AIFF Professional-League Committee and the disciplinary bodies of AIFF.

34. The Club must commit to and formally sign the Code of Conduct for the AIFF Professional-League.

35. The clubs must commence youth programmes and play in a youth league from season 2007/08 onwards. These youth leagues will be established by AIFF and the State Football Associations at state level. AIFF will set out the format and duration of the competitions and the details of the club youth development programmes in terms of qualification of coaches, number of coaching sessions, the physical development of the players, the number of competitions and the education of the players.

36. Ideally, the club should establish strong links with local football clubs and academies, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities for both sports and community development purposes.

Identity and Fan Support

37. The club must register its name/identity, logo and colours (two sets) with AIFF.

38. The club must register its name and logo as a trade mark.

39. The club must have a stable identity. The club’s identity, colours and logo should remain constant and cannot be changed without the permission of AIFF. (This does not mean that sponsors’ names cannot be reflected as part of the name.)

40. The club should submit to AIFF and implement a year-round Programme to build up strong community support and a solid fan base. This is particularly important for the corporate clubs.

41. The Clubs must establish fan clubs in the local community to develop its fan base.

See also: AFC tells India to focus of club and player growth (4 Apr) and AFC notes progress in 'Delhi Vision" pilot project (30 Sep 05) and India told "not to let the momentum go" (21 Jul 05)