By floating tenders inviting bids for new clubs to be a part of the I-League, the All India Football Federation has thrown to the winds the established, century-old principles and procedures in one shot. It violates FIFA rules and regulations. For auctions, tenders, etc, have never been part of any football club or player-signing process as per the FIFA.
But when officials from a cricketing dispensation are asked to administer football, one cannot hope for anything better. “The winning bidders will be granted the right to own and operate a new club which will compete in I-League in each year from 2013 onwards and have the opportunity (if applicable and subject to qualification) to compete in the AFC Club Competitions,” stated the AIFF.
“It is the AIFF’s endeavour to make the I-League strong and robust, and for that it is imperative that clubs comply with the licensing criteria specially with regard to infrastructure and Youth Development. It is with this objective in mind that we are allowing direct entry into the I-League so that good infrastructure and Youth Development academies can be established” the AIFF explained.
Even century-old clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal do not have any infrastructure worth the name. They are housed in tents on land, called the Maidan, which belongs to the Eastern Command.
The Salt Lake Stadium, touted as the home venue for any club from Kolkata which makes it to the I-League, belongs to the state government. Quite recently, all I-League matches scheduled to be held at the Salt Lake Stadium were shifted to venues outside Kolkata and North Parganas, where the stadium is located, as the authorities permitted the IPL to have its inauguration ceremony.
Ditto for most clubs from Goan clubs, as the Nehru Stadium, owned by the state government, is their venue. Just by inviting tenders and allowing two clubs to directly take part in the I-League, the AIFF would have everyone believe that infrastructure will be developed and that youth development will be established.
But none of the I-League clubs have done anything in this regard. Some even don’t field teams in AIFF tournaments.
FIFA rules do not authorise any association to float tenders to form clubs and to take part directly in a national league ignoring all aspects of promotion and relegation in a league structure.