IPL-style tournament will aid Indian game - AIFF chief

01 Oct 2013

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has stated that he hopes the planned Indian Premier League-style tournament will serve to drive viewers and investment back to the Indian game.

The competition modeled on cricket’s hugely successful IPL has yet to receive a name, but is due to launch in January. Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Goa, Delhi and Bangalore are understood to be the eight cities where the franchises will be based, with player auctions scheduled to be held between October 30 and November 5. The AIFF is developing the new tournament alongside its commercial partner IMG-Reliance and some of the world’s top players have already been linked with participation.

I-League clubs have signalled their opposition to the new event, but Patel believes it will greatly serve the development of the Indian game. “We need more viewers and more investment in Indian football and the new tournament is a step in that direction,” he said, according to The Hindu newspaper. “When you start something new there will be some roadblocks. Things will settle down once the tournament starts.”

Patel said the new event would not hamper the prospects of the I-League, which will continue to serve as India’s top club tournament. “I-League is the most important tournament of the country and there should be no doubts about that,” he added.