Guwahati, Sept. 26: Guwahati Sports Association’s (GSA) efforts to bring back the lost sheen of the Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Bordoloi Trophy football tournament has hit a funds hurdle with very few prospective sponsors assuring it of a helping hand to organise the historic annual event.
GSA general secretary Ibocha Singh today told The Telegraph that the GSA had planned to call a couple of overseas teams from Southeast Asia to add glamour to the 61-year-old tournament.
The event has hit the traditional hurdle for sports — financial constraints — as most of the prospective sponsors have expressed their inability to fork out a substantial amount to sponsor the event.
“We had sought permission from the AIFF to bring in at least three foreign outfits in this year’s edition. The AIFF had asked us to deposit the mandatory fee of Rs 5 lakh and apply for Asian Football Confederation permission. We can afford to seek the AFC permission but not the fee, given our financial health,” Singh said.
The GSA had applied permission for Port Trust of Thailand of Bangkok and Rangoon FC of Myanmar, apart from another team from Malaysia. “Apart from the Rs 5 lakh AIFF fee, we will have to bear an expenditure of not less than 25 lakh for the overseas teams, which cannot be raised in the present circumstances,” the GSA general secretary added.
Abahani Krida Chakra FC, Dhaka and Nabil Three Star of Kathmandu were the last foreign teams to participate in the tournament in 2010.
Abahani won the Rs 1.5 lakh prize money in the tournament, defeating Three Star.
The GSA is trying to call in at least a couple of leading national clubs for the tournament, which, too, is uncertain because of the clubs’ engagement with the ongoing I-League.
The GSA has set a tentative date of November 15 to kick-off its annual flagship meet.
“In all probability, we might be compelled to keep it a northeastern affair once again,” Singh said.