IMG-R to bypass I-league clubs, Kochi and Hyderabad may get teams


IMG-Reliance are now going all out against the Indian Professional Football Clubs’ Association (IPFCA) by stating that they will not be requiring the services of the Indian players who are contracted to the I-league clubs.

This will be a major blow to the I-league clubs since their demand for adequate compensation relied entirely on the fact that they had contracted most of the leading Indian footballers. IMG-R required 104 Indian footballers for their new league. For this they have already signed 57 players who are either part of the Pailan Arrows or are not contracted to any football club (free agents). They only need 7 more players. The rest of the 40 players will be scouted by the individual franchisee from their respective catchment area.

In a chat with the Indian Express, a source in IMG-R revealed

Let’s be honest, the general public isn’t aware of Indian footballers. So the tournament is going to be marketed around through the foreign stars. If that bit is taken care of, then it doesn’t really matter which Indian players take part in the tournament.

Clearly, the IMG-R is heavily relying on the star power of foreign footballer which they hope will be mostly big names.

Indian Football Network believes that this is a move from the IMG-R to coerce the Indian football clubs into releasing their players for cheap. This announcement will have serious effect as the players who are contracted with the football clubs and who were waiting for the issue to be resolved will now seek release from the clubs for the big money that IMG-R is offering.

IMG-R is now expecting the clubs to go soft in the meeting scheduled in August.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the 8 franchisee teams will be most likely from Pune, Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kochi and a noth-east city. Notably, Hyderabad and Delhi do not have representation in the I-league. Hyderabad, however used to be one of the hotspots of Indian football and many Olympians have emerged from there in the past.

IMG-R have also acquired the stadiums in Bangalore (Sri Kanteerava Stadium), Mumbai (DY Patil) and Goa (Nehru Stadium, Fatorda) for their proposed league

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