India still targeting 2007 for national Pro-League

All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi believes Indian football is close to kick-starting a truly professional league, Express News Service reported. Speaking at a season's wrap briefing for the media on the occasion of the Super Cup and ahead of his visit to Munich for a FIFA member's meet on 7 June, Dasmunshi said the AIFF would hold talks with England's FA and Portugese football authorities to work out tie-ups while approaching Vision 2010. The program aims at achieving better results for India at the international level going into the next edition of the World Cup.

The AIFF has started operating out of new offices in New Delhi funded by FIFA's Goal project and Dasmunshi is demanding that clubs measure up to professional requirements, prominent amongst them being the facility of a ground, by virtue of either ownership or on lease. "We have been languishing in the world rankings because we are not completely professional," he said. "I don't see trouble for teams from Kolkata, Goa, Mumbai or Punjab to access a ground. But there might be a problem if teams come from the south, and in that direction I am planning on MoUs with defence establishments to get the grounds," he said.

Other parameters include a professional club structure, a stable management transparent in its financial dealings including retaining and transfer contracts for players and support of the Federation. "If at least six clubs meet this criteria we can launch the fully professional league in 2007. Otherwise it will be deferred," the AIFF president declared.

Dasmunshi also sought to put up a transparent front on the federation's expenses saying half of AIFF's US$4.5 million budget was devoted to development programs while 35 percent was spent in the National Football League and only two percent went towards office administration.

See also: Goan comments on proposed Indian Pro League (16 Apr) and New national Indian Professional League in 2007/08 (12 Apr) and 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)