Alarmed by the shutting down of two prominent clubs — Mahindra United and JCT — owners of 12 I-league clubs met here on Saturday and called upon AIFF and IMG-Reliance to become partners in order to make the five-year-old league sustainable.

Expressing unhappiness at the way the league has been managed so far, the owners have decided to form a self-financed Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) to “safeguard their interests” and promote the sport in India.

Nandan Piramal of Pune FC said AIFF and IMG-Reliance officials were receptive to the ideas put forward by the CEO of the teams at a meeting in New Delhi on February 21.

“They will make a presentation on April 20 to highlight the road map for the future and outline a revenue model. The clubs together spend Rs. 150 crore in a season.

“In return we get Rs. 7 crore towards travel subsidy and food allowance. There was detailed discussion regarding the progress made towards setting a focused approach for making I-League a separate legal entity in which the clubs would have major stakes,'' said Mr. Piramal.

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The IPFCA's objectives would be to promote and safeguard the common interests of the clubs, popularise the I-League across India, help make the I-League sustainable and profitable, encourage the formation of new professional clubs, share best practices among members and get I-League teams to play in the Asian Champions league.

The teams that were represented at the meeting were Kingfisher East Bengal, McDowells Mohun Bagan, Prayag United SC, Salgaocar SC, Dempo SC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Chirag United Kerala, Mumbai FC, Air-India SC, Shillong Lajong FC and Pune FC.

Churchill Brothers did not attend the meeting, but offered total support to the decisions and the formation of the IPFCA.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Sporting Club was not represented at the meeting.

Keywords: I-league clubs

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