IMG-Reliance League Postponed To September Due To Time Constraints
It took a brainstorming session in Mumbai on Sunday between All India Football Federation President Praful Patel and Reliance Industries Chair and Managing Dir Mukesh Ambani "to call off the India Super League," according to Saumyajit Basu of the TIMES OF INDIA. The IMG-Reliance-sponsored ISL was supposed to start in January, "but when it came to brass tacks, they realized that time is a real constraint to pull off such a project" and they are underprepared. Patel said, "We can't have two leagues of the same kind within a gap of six months. That is not practical. I made the point very clear in the meeting that we can't stop the I-League to accommodate the ISL. So we need a fixed time for the event and we want it to happen at the start of every season." When asked about Star India's opinion about the postponement, Patel said, "They also felt that the time is too short to start the project properly. They need more time to get things organized." According to sources, those interested in bidding for one of the eight franchisees "made it known to the AIFF and its marketing partners that the time to bid, plan and then ensure that the tournament is a success was too short" (TIMES OF INDIA, 10/29). The TIMES OF INDIA reported Churchill Brothers CEO Valanka Alemao has shot a letter to Patel factually stating that the AIFF's decision to endorse its marketing partners IMG Reliance's ISL, a parallel to the I-League, "was unconstitutional and in contravention" of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation's laws governing player contracts and running of the national league. The 9-page letter states, "Such a purported league -- Indian Super League -- has no legal sanctity to it as the proposed league is in violation of binding FIFA/ AFC principles, norms and regulations and AIFF has grossly failed to perform its obligations. As per FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, there is no system of 'Auctioning' of Players. FIFA only recognizes 'engaging' and 'releasing' players through an agreement of contract while the proppsed ISL contemplates acquiring of players, already associated with clubs, through auctioning" (TIMES OF INDIA, 10/26).