The Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA), formed in 2012 to safeguard the interest of member clubs, is moving towards organising its own tournament early next year. The intention is to keep contracted players in shape with competitive action when there is no I-League during the period, and also generate revenue.
The problem is that the All India Football Federation and commercial partner, the International Management Group-Reliance (IMG-R), is in the process of launching its own tournament involving franchise-supported teams on the lines of the IPL around the same time — January-February 2014.
The nation’s top football professionals attached to different I-League clubs have been approached to sign up for the new venture. It is learnt that the IPFCA have arrived at a consensus that clubs competing in the I-League will not release any contracted player for the new event by IMG-R, nor will any player whose contract has a release clause pertaining to the IPL-style event be signed up.
The players are caught in a bind since the I-League has its own place in Indian football, and the new tournament is organised by AIFF’s commercial partner.
The 12 I-League clubs from across India came together last year at Vasco to launch the IPFCA, headed by Salgaocar SC representative, Raj Gomes, as president, and Pune FC Operations Head, Chirag Tanna, as general secretary.
The objectives were to safeguard interest of member clubs and popularise the game. The professional clubs body will be meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday to decide on further course of action, after taking views from member clubs.