Major makeover continues for Indian pro football

The football associations of India's two key states, Goa and West Bengal, remain critical of two conditions for the new Professional League the All India Football Federation hopes to launch in October. If "teams playing in the Professional League will not be allowed to play in the State League," and "teams willing to continue in the State League competition should field a different set of players -- either amateurs or junior players" the flow of sponsorship at the local state level will be severely hampered, agreed Goa Football Association Secretary Savio Messias and Indian Football Association Secretary Subrata Dutta.

Although gate collections from Goa Professional League games have been dropping over the past six years, the compeition has attracted sponsorship of Rs 300,000(US$6,818) to Rs 500,000 (US$11,363), which the association feels will be threatened. With lack of stars, the association feels that the sponsors will turn their backs on the league.

"Comparatively the Bengal situation is different. A match between the two arch rivals Mohan Bagan and East Bengal easily attracts a crowd of 70,000 to 90,000 on a given day depending on the form of the respective teams and the importance of the match. So the IFA, the body which runs the state level affairs in the eastern state of the country, is feeling the pinch on two fronts. They also feel worried that advertisers will shy away and the gate collection will dwindle," commented Armstrong Vaz in ohmynews.

India's current semi-professional National Football League commenced in 1996 with a promise that it would turn into a professional league but its 10 participating clubs are nowhere near FIFA bench marks which require a qualified and devoted set of technical, administrative, medical and coaching staff. Among facilities, they should have a clubhouse, an administrative office, a developmental side (U-19, U-21), an academy and a youth program - and control over a full-time practice and playing ground.

See also: Controversy as India moves to professional league (20 Mar) and Indian professional league 'can kick-off' in October (16 Feb)