I-league clubs join hands to save Indian Football against Start Sports' decision
AIFF being pushed to roll-back on reduced coverageAuthor : Sunaina
I-league, the National Football league, has been one of the most exciting leagues for Indian Football fans over the years. The ever unpredictable league is now under dark clouds with Star Sports Network announcing a slash in the airtime of the league. The league is, currently, on a high with Chennai City topping the table and just a five points difference separating the top seven sides.
At the time when Indian Football is on its peak, the Star Sports Network, rather unexpectedly, declared that they are going to telecast only 30 of the remaining matches from 29th of December. The decision, for obvious reasons, has sparked a controversy in the Indian Football fans as the decision of the Broadcasting Network is being slammed on social media. The I-league team owners and club officials have also raised their voice against the same citing all the conspired actions taken against the league including odd timings of matches, poor broadcast quality while expressing their disappointment with the AIFF.
The FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited), the body that operates the India Super League (ISL) and is also responsible for the marketing and promotion of the I-league as well, is under the scanner for the reported controversy.
The most affected teams from this decision are Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala and Aizawl FC. Although, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will have their maximum of matches being broadcasted.
"This is my humble request to all the football fans in India. Please stand up for the Indian Football. Its 'now or never'. What Star Sports is doing is on directions of Reliance, which is through FSDL. Their property ISL, is being threatened by the growth of I-league. Even though the timings decided for the matches of I-league are the worst, the cameras for the coverage are of poor quality. Yet, we were giving ISL a run for their money. And even if you look at the quality of the Football, no one can say that the ISL has a quality better than us. And according to FIFA, the 'Hero I-league' is supposed to be the no.1 league of the nation." said Mr. Ranjit Bajaj, Owner of Minerva Punjab Football Club.
Putting a light on the development of Indian Football from grassroot level, Mr. Bajaj added," If you look at I-league in terms of merit, the real Indian football is being developed at Neroa FC, Real Kashmir, Chennai City, Gokulam, Minerva Punjab with at least 7-8 players from their home state picked on the basis of their talent. Minerva has, in their last 3 years, given 50 new players in all age categories. How many players have the whole of ISL given in last 5 years?"
This controversy is expected to grow further with all the I-league clubs putting in the effort to #SaveIndianFootball.