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IMG may send stars abroad

While only a couple of Indian players may be of necessary standards for an opportunity in a league like the MLS, many of them should have no problems securing moves to clubs in other Asian leagues.

Published: 26th July 2013 07:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2013 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

Syed-Rahim-Nabi

The ongoing tussle between I-League clubs and AIFF’s marketing partner IMG Reliance may have inadvertently opened a new window of opportunity to a number of Indian footballers.

Players who have already signed up to participate in the proposed IMG-R tournament from January to March had been left in a limbo after I-League clubs refused to take them on loan for the rest of the season. But now IMG-R sources have exclusively revealed to TNIE that they are exploring the possibility of sending these players out on loan to foreign leagues.

“If we cannot send these players out on loan to I-League clubs, then we will send them out to foreign clubs. We will not allow any player’s career to be hampered due to them having to sit around not playing competitively for nine months. Certain sections have been very vocal in opposing us saying players missing out on regular action will be detrimental to Indian football, but we will not allow that to happen,” a highly-placed source revealed.

Talks regarding the first of these foreign stints are already at an advanced stage with current Indian Player of the Year Syed Rahim Nabi set for a trial with MLS club DC United. “There will be a number of similar deals in the coming months. Nabi is not going to be the last Indian player to move abroad this season,” he said.

While only a couple of Indian players may be of necessary standards for an opportunity in a league like the MLS, many of them should have no problems securing moves to clubs in other Asian leagues. With IMG boasting a presence in a number of countries, the idea may not be as far fetched as it sounds.

Meanwhile, any hope of a resolution to the stand-off between IMG-R and I-League clubs has dimmed with the former refusing to participate in any discussion with the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA), the umbrella organisation for I-League clubs.

It had been reported that a scheduled meeting between the two sides had been postponed, but IMG-R sources said that they had refused to participate in it as it would tantamount to recognising the IPFCA. “This organisation that the clubs have floated is not recognised by the AIFF. As their marketing partner, we do not recognise them as well. Hence we are unwilling to participate in talks with anyone other than individual clubs,” he said.



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