Indian Football League Scrapped Due To Problems With Stadiums, Logistics
An Indian professional football league -- run along the same lines of the franchise-based Indian Premier League cricket tournament -- "has been scrapped due to logistical problems," according to ESPN. The tournament "was set to feature a cast of veteran players" including former Chelsea & AC Milan striker Hernan Crespo, Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, former Arsenal winger Robert Pires and ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler alongside local footballers. The league was originally planned to take place in February through March last year, "only to be postponed indefinitely." Indian FA Secretary General Utpal Ganguly said, "The main reasons for not pursuing the project further were logistics like the unavailability of stadia and the backing out of some of the franchises for commercial reasons. Besides, the timing of the league was not suitable for foreign players" (ESPN, 1/29). The AP reported Anilava Chatterjee of private firm Grey Mind, which had bought one of the five franchise teams, said that the problem "lay with getting stadiums in smaller towns of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal." Chatterjee said, "We were told there were problems in getting grounds, especially in the smaller districts, and the project was thus aborted." India-based Celebrity Management Group, which was a partner in the league project, "is contemplating a different league at some point" (AP, 1/29).