Indian Clubs Claim the proposed league would result in the I-league's demise -Photo by AFP
India's top football clubs are up in arms against the national federation over moves to stage a cash -rich franchise-based tournament inspired by cricket's popular Indian Premier League early next year.
But the clubs have declined to release their players for the tournament, which they say will threaten their existence and ruin the national I-League domestic competition.
“We don't think the new league will be beneficial to Indian football,” said Raj Gomes, who heads the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association.
“How can we allow players to play for another club in the middle of the season?”
Valanka Alemao, the chief executive officer of popular Goa-based club Churchill Brothers, also vigorously opposed the proposed tournament.
“I do not understand why the AIFF wants to hold a new league,” Alemao said. “This new entity will eventually supersede the I-League and cause the slow death of existing clubs.
“The common goal should be to improve Indian football. How does it help if you get some retired or semi-retired players to grab a few eyeballs for a minute?"
“It will benefit everyone if the AIFF tries to improve the I-League, instead of starting another tournament,” she said.