Special Corespondent

Velappan makes a critical assessment

The league has been professional only in name so far.Clubs not getting anything in return for huge sums of money spent.Avoid situations like the one brought about by Fransa Pax.

NEW DELHI: Despite ten years of its existence in the country, the National Football League has not contributed to the qualitative development of Indian football, and thus it will be revamped and relaunched in a professional fashion from the next edition.

Addressing a press conference at the AIFF headquarters in Dwaraka, the general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Dato Peter Velappan, categorically stated that the NFL had been professional only in name so far.

Reiterating that the health of the country's football was dependent on the quality of the clubs, Velappan said that India should stop calling substandard foreign players for the league for the next five years as the country had enough talent that deserved to be developed.

"The Indian team's performance has not demonstrated the potential of Indian football'', said Velappan, as he stressed that the AIFF should capitalise on the economic development of the country for the development of the game.

Contractual obligations

As per the revamped league, the clubs would seek license from the AIFF and abide by the contractual obligations, so as to avoid the current situation when Fransa Pax Club pulled out of the National league midway, throwing the programme out of gear.

"If you strengthen the clubs and the competition along with the supporting systems, you will have a good national team", observed Velappan.

He pointed out that some of the clubs were spending from $400,000 to $800,000 a year without getting anything in return.

"After spending nearly $50 million in the last 10 years, the clubs have reached their limit of patience", the AFC secretary emphasised, after having attended the AFC Vision India Club Development Workshop for the last two days.

The AIFF general secretary Alberto Colaco said that the two-year plan would be finalised by the end of May during the General Body Meeting, with provision for CAS in AIFF constitution.

Velappan sought the government support in providing grounds and playing facilities in a big way all over the country, and emphasised that every dollar spent on sports was worth four dollar in terms of health care, saving the society from drugs etc.

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