Santosh Trophy is not serving any purpose: AIFF Secretary General Kushal Das

Admitting that Santosh Trophy National Championships has lost its relevance, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday said that it was looking into whether to continue the tournament or not.

“Santosh Trophy is not serving any purpose. From the game’s perspective, I don’t think that Santosh Trophy has much relevance. We have to look into that (whether to continue or not),” AIFF Secretary General Kushal Das said.

Mr. Das also expressed unhappiness at the way the clubs in the country were spending overwhelming percentage of their annual budget in buying players and warned that they will not be allowed to play in the next I-League if they don’t fulfil the licensing criteria by next year.

“Some of the licensing criteria are difficult to implement like having a stadium for each club. But certain things like youth development, proper administration are non negotiable. If clubs fail on that, from next year, the license will not be granted,” he said.

Delivering keynote address on the topic ‘AIFF’s Vision for Indian Football’ at the India Football Forum 2013 Mr. Das said: “90 per cent of the club’s budget is spent on players’ salary, which is unacceptable. Because of so much money spent on buying players, virtually, there is no money left for infrastructure development.” He also took a dig at the critics for blaming the AIFF for all the ills of Indian football.

“Are all the ills of Indian football due to AIFF? AIFF is the most professional sports body in terms of administration in the country and this includes BCCI also,” he said.

Talking about some upcoming plans of the AIFF, Das said, “A residential elite academy for Under 16 and Under 18 players has been planned in Goa and Pune. We will tie up with Football Federation Australia to look into grassroots programme in Maharashtra,” he said.

“We will also be able to publish AIFF’s four-year strategic plan in next month or so,” he added.

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