Controversy as India moves to professional league

Indian petroleum giant ONGC, the sponsor of the current National Football League for the last three years, is reportedly upset with the All India Football Federation for not being consulted on decisions impacting on the development of professional football in India. The company is particularly offended by not being invited to particiapte in the recently-formed Professional Football League Committee headed by AIFF vice-president C Viswanathan along with four delegates representing state football associations. “We thought we would get representation on the PFL panel. Apart from us, a representative from Zee Sports will also be invited into the committee. The corporate houses who have supported the NFL and the AIFF financially should have been invited into the PFL committee for their suggestions,” a senior ONGC official told Newsline.

The PFL committee has scheduled its first meeting for 2 April in New Delhi and the newspaper has learnt that, as part of a bid to introduce the Indian Professional Football League within two seasons, the committee wants National Football League clubs to stop fielding senior teams in state football leagues from the coming season. The committee is also planing to ask the state associations to instruct their respective NFL clubs to field their junior teams in state football.