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AIFF takes long-term look into future

Calcutta, Oct. 26: Vision 2004 and Project 2006. Sounds futuristic and imaginative as well. Though not something one normally associates with Indian football administration.

As it turns out, these are indeed long-term programmes chalked out by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). Buoyed by the spate of encouraging results in the recent past, the AIFF has, albeit belatedly, started planning long-term.

According to AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, the current under-17 and under-20 national teams will be trained to don national colours in the 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

“These boys have a lot of potential and will form the backbone of our campaigns in 2004 and 2006,” Das Munshi said at a meet-the-press programme this evening. Whether Uzbek Islam Akhmedov will remain in charge of the India juniors will be decided on Thursday.

Looking ahead to the seventh National Football League (NFL), which is due to kick off middle of November, the AIFF chief said there was reason to be optimistic. “After struggling to make ends meet in the first few editions, we have just about managed to get stable financially,” Das Munshi remarked, adding that the name of the title sponsors will be announced in Delhi soon.

A total of 80 NFL matches are due to be shown live by Doordarshan. “We have asked them to sell more matches to satellite channels … we won’t ask for any revenue from them,” said Das Munshi.

Ultimatum to IFA

The AIFF president served an ultimatum to IFA on the 2001 Shield final fiasco. “Justice Ranganath Mishra, who headed the probe into the abandoned East Bengal-Palmeiras match, has sent a notice to the IFA on his findings and sought an answer. If the IFA doesn’t reply within seven days, Justice Mishra will take an ex-parte decision and send the report directly to the AFC,” Das Munshi said.

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