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Volume 6 No. 211
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I-League, Football Development 'Painfully Slow' In India

India's I-League, on paper, "is the equivalent of the EPL or Spain's La Liga," but in reality, "it suffers from a fraction of the frenzy associated with these tournaments," according to Binoy Prabhakar of the ECONOMIC TIMES. The I-League is India's "biggest football contest," featuring 14 of the country's biggest clubs, which this season spent a combined Rs 170 crore ($31.6M) on player salaries. However, those that are not traditional supporters must "look hard to notice the I-League." The league is a "shining example of India still holding out against the magic of football." U.K.-based sportingintelligence.com Editor Nick Harris said that if football is to become mainstream in India, it needs "a national league that is properly funded and properly run over many years." Two years ago, the All India Football Federation signed a 15-year deal with IMG Reliance for Rs 700 crore ($130M). As AIFF's commercial partner, IMG Reliance's mandate is to "radically restructure and promote the game, but progress has been painfully slow." Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay said that there is "no clarity where Indian football is going." Gourlay: "We heard about the agreement AIFF signed with IMG Reliance. There seems to be some confusion because nothing really has happened" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 11/4).