Premier League Soccer: Is the AIFF trying to kill PLS a la BCCI ?

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The initial success and hoopla over the Premier League Soccer has gotten the AIFF into feeling itself on the edge. The news has been received that the AIFF secretary Mr. Kushal Das has shot a letter to the AIFF raising some issues over PLS. This might be a danger signal for PLS even before its kick-off. Or would it?

The IFA and CMG are jointly organizing the world’s 1st ever franchisee based league where the players, coaches and the franchisee has been auctioned off. An excess of Rs 135 crore ($27.2 million) has already been splashed by the parties involved with another round of auction still to go. Even the broadcast and sponsorship rights are expected to fetch approximately Rs 30-35 crore. This kind of money-spinning has been unheard of in Indian football. For example, the budget of HAL, an I-League team, is less than3.5 crore!

All of this seems not to be going down well with the AIFF and its partner IMG-Reliance. It is to be noted that IMG-R, in its deal with AIFF worth Rs 700 crore, had a clause which would enable them float a new league scrapping I-league. This league would also be franchisee based but pan-Indian. Now that the PLS has already come up with a similar league, albeit intra-state, which has attracted mainstream media attention worldwide, an uneasiness in the AIFF camp is palpable.

In the letter to the IFA, Mr. Kushal Das has accused them of letting the PLS be a privately owned CMG event rather than an IFA event. He has even insisted on adding the term ‘Bengal’ before PLS to make it loud and clear that the tournament is a regional one and not a national thing. It is to be noted that the perception in the majority of international media is that it is a new version of I-league with complete overhaul.

Now the question arises, will the AIFF go all-out in killing the PLS to make way for IMG-Reliance like the BCCI killed ICL? Well, there is no such immediate threat. And as long as the PLS remains confined to a 2 month schedule and West Bengal boundaries, it can live happily. But the CMG have given a strong hint that they would venture in other states and if the sources are to be believed, they are already in talks with some state FAs. This would be a cause of concern. In that case, the IMG would surely want its path to be cleared for the smooth sail of its own league.

But can the AIFF kill PLS? This is a bigger question. The answer is, it would be extremely difficult. The Bengal is called the Mecca of Indian football and rightly so. The fan frenzy for even a local football team is to be seen to believe. In the smaller towns like Howrah, Siliguri, Barasat etc, it is even more popular. So the PLS teams are going to command great following and loyalty. The major tool that BCCI used to strangle ICL was throwing its weight around to force all other international cricket associations to bar their players from mainstream cricket. The AIFF do not have that kind of weight in world football. Also the fact that the icon players are all retired or semi-retired and are not considered for their national team anymore would render the ban, if any, meaningless.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I visited this site a bit late but come a bit more update… Gud news for Indian football that the I-league is itself planning a complete overhaul to for marketing &’ publicity!! from season 2013-14 there will be 16 teams with 2 tiers.. watever u will find out about it.. I agree wit dx dat India’s gt some of d richest business tycoons of d world, bt they prefer 2 spend overseas.. dat can not be good for Indian futbol.. I beliv dat infrastructural improvment is important.. having gud madical team &’ scouts to grind young gems from grass-root levels &’ then nurturing them &’ honing their crafts is very important.. though I disagree wit dx claiming dat polytix shud b eradicated completely cuz he’s given it a very ugly face.. but I beliv a leader is needed in evry field.. A man gives a house its proper shape, an engine directs its compartments in d ryt direction &’ even d country neeeds a leader to represent it.. a leader widout polytix is imposible.. but ya I agree dat dirty polytix &’ lobby-baazi in d name of polytix shud b eradicated!! I hav a great idea for improvment of d I-league so dat it can mak some money as well as bring as many overseas players in India.. India needs international exposure &’ help from media.. bt posting it here won’t do any gud, I need 2 b heard by d governing body of futbal in India.. trust me, d idea is brilliant!!

  2. as far am concerned the I-league teams are not marketed well. We have the money but the Red tape and Politics scare away the Investors. We have a far bigger Fan base for Football in Indian than in England. The fact the youth are looking for alternatives to cricket and generation like me who have grown watching EPL are there a Lot in india and these people should be tapped. Nothing wrong in suporting EPL clubs, But if you dont have any knowledge of your own indian League then there is a Problem in marketability with AIFF. we have the Money to bring the Right talent and Support base to help indian football, All it takes is common sense. Down with PLS and Money spinning leagues, remove Red tape and Politics and put money in and bring and support local talent while getting the best from abroad then i can see football replacing Cricket as the No 1 domestic sport in  India.

  3. these sorts of leagues should not be entertained, Agreed they are bringing money to bengal and bringing in exposure in the media, but the end of the day we have a structure in the I league and div 2. We have the best supported clubs from bengal and these should be part of a Registered league under AIFF only. PLS is just in it for Money and not to bring up talent, PLS will destroy a structure the same way IPL has done to Ranji and Indian Cricket as a Whole. PLS will make money for its sponsers and move on while the Traditional Leagues will suffer. Shocked with the Amount spent on retired players, Cant they spend on I-league clubs and bring quality into indian Domestic football? Why is Venky’s and Lakshmi mittal investing huge loads in EPL when they can do a Fraction of it in I-league itself and with a Little Marketing Common sense they can make good money plus do good for Indian football. PLS should go or should be made irrelavent like ICL in Cricket.

  4. I thought this was floated by IFA under the provisions of AIFF and was wondering why is AIFF killing its own league. Personally this is a system that will work in India since it is a vast country. Devise like a Statewise and conference format more like MLS but stretching an entire season. Concentrate first on the football crazy states so that other states can follow after it becomes a hit. It can just be Goa, WB, Kerela, NE etc initially and definitely others will join the bandwagon. In terms of whether AIFF can kill this league is not plausible because the legal battles that will ensue will be too big for AIFF to handle and will not be good for Indian Football.. Forgetting all this, there will arise a player war locally whether to play for and where thus disrupting the essence of traditional club values. Football at the end is deep rooted in tradition whether in India or abroad and that is why we have heroes and clubs that we look upto because any given day i would root for East Bengal or Churchill Bros.

  5. Its not only Bengal;Goa and Kearala are also very famous for football even some other places too.CMG is well aware about this.However,its a matter of time to say whether PLS will be a success or not but we the Indian people will remember CMG not for PLS but for their initiation technically or you may say logically to have something good for the “Indian Football”. The problem is, every one likes to have some cash in pocket by “Chance”, what matters; particularly for the business oriented entity controlling the Indian economy .
    Let’s pray something positive for Indian football!

  6. All of you guys are misinformed. It takes more money to start a franchise league nationally than it would be within states. The PLS is a cheaper league than a franchise league that spans all of India. There are so many more fees to make. That is why the AIFF and IMG are to slow with starting a franchise league. The AIFF and IMG are doing the right thing with taking it slow. Franchise leagues are a slow but effective process.

    Also why are people so scared of PLS. What is the difference between the new PLS and the Nagaland Premier League or soon to be Maha League. All three are/will be franchise leagues ran just like PLS. They just have “icon” players. The PLS is just getting so much unnecessary coverage. They are nothing special.

  7. Who stopped AIFF to do it in National level. if it is bullshit then leave it . why pulling leg ?
    IF IFA doing it . why AIFF jealous ?. AIFF is the reason why footballer cleans cricket stadium .

  8. I agree with AIFF this league is bullshit(not for Bengali’s),its of no use.Also they have to name it a Bengal League Soccer with immediate efect

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