Indian Suspense League: Clarity Is What We Want - The New Indian Express

Indian Suspense League: Clarity Is What We Want

Published: 14th April 2014 07:45 AM

Last Updated: 14th April 2014 07:56 AM

Right now there's only one thing that is clear. There are eight franchises in IMG-Reliance's Indian Super League. The rest is shrouded in mystery. Nothing has been announced so far. Interestingly, the amount of money each club owner spent to secure a club was not revealed.

Even the model that ISL would follow is yet to come out. However, sources close to IMG-R said that one would be chalked out after discussions with the various team owners.

Sources revealed that teams will be paying an average of Rs 15cr per annum as a licensing fee. "Whatever bids that they have put in - it comes down to an average of Rs 15cr per annum for ten years — it is the licensing fee for the rights to run a team. Whatever they spend on the team and on the players are above this."

TNIE understands that the franchises expect to have to spend at least Rs 40cr-an-year including player wages and squad management costs. IMG-R currently pay their Indian international footballers up to Rs 70lakh-an-year, so all franchises will have to spend on an average of Rs 3-4cr on Indian international players alone if they maintain IMG-R's current wage structure. The foreign players that IMG-R brings in will earn much more. Apparently, there will be at least one marquee international player in each team. All teams will also have to spend an extra sum of `2cr on grassroots development.

If the figures touted are true, then IMG-Reliance stand to earn a healthy return on the Rs 700cr, it pledged to the AIFF to become their commercial partner for 15 years in 2010. Eight clubs will pay them a total of Rs 120cr-an-year for the next ten years, and they will earn more with the marketing and advertising revenue that will come with the league.

India's coach Wim Koevermans already seemed unhappy with the timing of the new league. "Our first opportunity to play is in September. The ISL probably starts in September. And the I-League clubs only start the league in December. It might affect the preparations of the national team," he had said.

The fate of the I-League also hangs in the balance, with the IMG-R, who are responsible for securing sponsorship and a broadcast deal for the league, running what is effectively a parallel tournament.

Though two of the clubs - Dempo and Shillong - have brought franchises in ISL, other clubs are still worried about what the ISL might do to the I-League.

"Everyone knows what the ISL will do to the I-League. But if the AIFF, who are tasked with the responsibility of running the I-League, do this, then what can the clubs do? Regarding the ISL, nothing has come out so far. The only things we know is speculation by the media," said East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumdar. 

Both Dempo and Lajong had earlier been part of a united front that the I-League clubs put up against the IMG-R, but had since changed their stand.

"In India, somebody changing a stand they took earlier is nothing new. All I can say is East Bengal are not ready to sell themselves just yet," he said. Atletico Madrid owner Miguel Angel Gil Marin, who co-owns the Kolkata franchise, said: "We along with our partners aim to revolutionise football in the country."


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