Indian states seek to modify new Pro-League rules

Collective objections by two of India's traditional football states, Goa and Bengal, reportedly infuriated the All India Football Federation President Priyaranjan Dasmunshi during a Professional League planning meeting in New Delhi and caused him to accuse them of trying to sabotage the ambitious new top-level compeition due to kick-off later this year. According to Professional League guidelines, "teams playing in the Professional League will not be allowed to play in the State league" and "teams still willing to continue in the State league should field a different set of players - either amateurs or junior players."

At the meeting, Goa and Bengal sought concessions, most particularly in the fielding of "reserve teams" for the local leagues. Instead of fielding a completely "amateur or junior side," Goa Football Association Secretary Savio Messias and his Indian Football Association counterpart Subrata Dutta asked the AIFF to allow reserve players take part. The two also suggested the local leagues run simultaneously with the local leagues. It was suggested, "the Pro League matches be held on weekends while local league matches can be played in-between."

IFA and Goa pointed out that if the players in the Pro League are not allowed to play in any other tournament, the players would end up playing less than 25 matches a season. The new system also severely hampers the flow of sponsorship at the local level, the two argued.

According to, both Dutta and Messias made it amply clear to the committee they had no objections to the Professional League, but said they wouldn't support the idea of diluting the local leagues. "Under-fire Dasmunshi, quite unusually, flared up and accused both Goa and Bengal of stalling Indian football's progress. The meeting then ended on an unpleasant note with no solution in sight. Interestingly, Dasmunshi made his displeasure known in no uncertain terms when he said he would get the proposal passed by the AIFF executive committee, and, if needed, the General Body," the football website disclosed.