NEW DELHI: All India Football Federation general secretary Kushal Das says the sports body's finances were "in a big mess" when he joined in 2010 but is now "100 times better", thanks to its commercial partners' timely intervention.
Das said Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) "played a significant part in helping structure lot more youth development activities and youth leagues" among others.
"Honestly speaking, had FSDL not come in I don't know what would have happened to Indian football. There were no takers left after (previous marketing partners) Zee (Sports). AIFF may have had no option but to curtail activities drastically," Das told the All India Football Federation.
"It's a boon for Indian football that FSDL came in at the right time. The way things are going now in terms of top-level football competitions is 100 times better than what it was in 2010-11," he added.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Das stated "the foremost priority" for him when he joined as the general secretary in 2010 was to get the "finances in order."
"At that time, the foremost priority was to get the finances in order. Simply because Zee had decided to move on and we didn't have a new marketing partner. We had no money. The finances were in a big mess," he informed.
"We were in a situation when the national team was preparing in Portugal and Spain for the AFC Asian Cup. There were huge liabilities from all the people who organised these preparatory matches.
"There were issues in terms of other liabilities regarding the players' payments as the AIFF had taken over the mantle of paying the players till the 2011 Asian Cup. Hence, my primary target was to get the contract signed. The contract was already done -- except a few minor changes here and there," he added.
Das pointed out that the value addition by FSDL has been "tremendous".
"The way they have actually helped in restructuring many of our own events -- it has been a very big value-addition. The launch of the Hero Indian Super League which has changed the landscape of Indian Football has been a great achievement."