The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has finally acknowledged I League’s clubs letter of February 18 and offered to communicate on the proposed meeting once president Praful Patel is back.
The major shift in the AIFF stand, which has not granted even a single meeting the I-League team managements in the past one year, is the outcome of the pressure created by the clubs’ decision to boycott the Super Cup, scheduled in Bhubaneswar from March 19. Qualifiers start tomorrow (Friday). As reported by InsideSport.co yesterday, eight of the 11 I-League clubs had threatened to boycott the Super Cup if their demand for a meeting was not met by the AIFF governance.
The pressure has forced the AIFF to act in haste. Even as a date for the meeting is not committed, AIFF General Secretary in an email has at least acknowledged the letter written by the club, with an assurance about the meetings. “Your message has been received by the (AIFF) president. We will communicate with you regarding the meeting since the president is travelling,” Das has stated in the mail addressed to the I-League clubs.
The AIFF is going ahead with preparations for the Super Cup. Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab and Aizwal FC are also in Bhubaneswar to prepare for the tournament. “We need only solutions,” a senior club management official said.
The AIFF is optimistic that the Super Cup will go ahead as scheduled with participation from most, if not all teams. “The Super Cup was started at the behest of the I-League clubs. It was their demand, but if they collectively decide that they do not want to be a part of this tournament, what can we do,” national daily Times of India has quoted a senior AIFF official as saying.
Meanwhile, uncertainty prevails among the clubs as well on their stand to boycott the Super Cup. East Bengal has released two contradictory communiques first to join the majority to say no to the Super Cup, followed by another statement that the club has a “tradition and legacy to not step back from participating keeping in view of the fact discrepancies if any, can be sorted out by discussion and deliberations”.
It is expected Kushal Das’ email will break some ice. However, the AIFF must walk the talk now to safeguard the interest of the National Football League stakeholders.