AIFF-IMG Rs 700-cr deal that promised much but failed to deliver

It has been 17 months since the federation brought on board a new commercial arm, but it has done little good so far, says a report in Hindustan Times. “To the All India Football Federation (AIFF), it seemed like a marketing coup that would change the game. After all, the joint-venture it inked a megabuck, multi-year marketing deal with had Reliance Industries and IMG, a global giant in sports marketing and management. Seventeen months later, there seems to be many a slip between potential and performance.”

The 15-year, R700-crore deal in December 2010 promised, according to the IMG website, to “radically restructure, overhaul, improve, popularise and promote the game of football throughout India, from the grassroots to the professional level.” Kushal Das, the AIFF secretary who was with IMG, had then said time had come for football to generate big money, says the HT report.
“With the AIFF ending the last fiscal at least Rs 5 crore in the red and its marketing partner having done little to fulfill its promise, ennui seems to have replaced excitement. The marketing partners are yet to get a title sponsor for any AIFF tournament, including the I-League. It was also learnt the AIFF has forwarded three suggestions to revamp the I-League and cut costs but don't know how and if they have been taken forward,” says the report.

Meanwhile a report in The Times Of India says that as the Indian under-22 football team gears up for the qualifiers for the first Asian Cup at this level, coach Arthur Papas is trying to use the platform to build a stronger future for the senior national team.

“It has been about a lot of learning for the players with the new system. We don’t have a lot of time. And the results don’t come in 10-15 days,” said Papas on the second day of the camp here on Sunday.

“It’s good that Asian Football Confederation is having a U-22 tournament. It’s a chance for Indian football to nurture better players for the senior team. It’s more important to have success at the senior level,” Papas said.

His team will be pitted against host Oman, Lebanon, Iraq, UAE and Turkmenistan.