New Delhi: The much publicised million dollar city-based franchise league, to be organised by All-India Football Federation’s (AIFF) marketing partners, IMG-R, has been postponed till the next season.
The league, which was to be played from January 18 to March 30, 2014, will now be held in the 2014-15 season in September, said a joint statement from the AIFF and IMG-R.
Though the statement said that non-availability of ground at Goa was the reason for the postponement, sources claimed that possible franchise owners told the organisers that it was not possible to prepare for a top class league in such a short time.
“Though a host of leading Indian players have already been signed for the league, nothing else has been prepared for the conduct of the league,” a source said.
“In a meeting held recently between top officials from broadcasters, the AIFF and the league organisers, it became clear that the federation marketing partners are not yet ready to hold the proposed league early next year,” he added.
The million dollar league, which was likely to be named as the Indian Super League, promised to sign players like Michael Owen, Luis Saha, Marcel Desailly and several other former stars for the 10-week tournament.
Raising serious doubts whether the proposed league would at all be held in near future, a senior AIFF official said the postponement was a huge setback, especially for the Indian players.
“So many players were lured away early in the season with the promise of a bright future. They did not sign for I-League clubs and were waiting to play in the new league.
“Now that their season is wasted, they would be in a fix. The organisers should have given a thought for the boys before calling the league off abruptly,” he said.
Another official said repeated postponements had become the part of the league. “It is happening regularly for the past few years.
“So disorganised they are that not even a technical head of the league could be appointed till now.”