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Does AIFF retain the right to claim sports ministry grants?

Jaydeep Basu

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The AIFF has withheld the prize money of all revolting I-League clubs, releasing only of champions Chennai City FC, but only after being served a reminder.

New Delhi: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju recently informed the Parliament about enhancing the funding of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for development of the game. The federation received Rs 23.08 crore in 2018-19. For 2019-20, the AIFF submitted a proposal of Rs 46 crore. Sources said it may have to settle for Rs 30 crore.

As a recognised national sports federation (NSF), the AIFF receives funding mainly under Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) from Sports Authority of India (SAI). It mostly spends the money for various national team’s preparatory camps, exposure tours and participation in international tournaments.

Under the current scenario, do the AIFF has the right to claim the money as NSF? Or should the government release the fund?

Now that the AIFF’s “strictly confidential” agreement with its marketing partners is on public domain, it is no secret the federation receives an amount of around Rs. 50 crore annually from a private organisation.

The agreement also makes it clear that in exchange, the football federation has agreed to hand over the rights of selecting clubs and shaping the rules of running of its national league to the same organisation.

As per the agreement, the federation have forfeited the right to decide if a new club show interest to enter the league or the league should have promotion or relegation.

The agreement also says nominees of marketing partners would be accommodated in its important sub-committees in technical, financial and regulatory matters.

It will be interesting to know whether AIFF, since signing the agreement in 2010, has informed the government in writing the details of its financial, administrative and technical deals with its marketing partners or on the grants it separately receives from FIFA and AFC.

True, the annual government grant of Rs. 30 crore is not enough to run football in India. Without sponsors, the game cannot progress beyond a certain level. But does it imply the national league of the country can be put on sale?

After all, the country’s national team is chiefly selected on the basis of its national league. The government spends substantially on national team’s training, exposure and participation in international tournaments.

One more disturbing fact came to light recently. The AIFF released the prize money of a particular club (I-League champions) despite financial constraints. Payment of prize money of all other teams were put on hold without assigning any reason.

Interestingly, most of the clubs denied payment are part of the group seeking “justice” for I-League. Lack of money could be the reason for selective payment but if clubs allege arm twisting and blackmailing, they cannot be dismissed easily.

Sadly, even the clubs who are flexing muscles about knocking the doors of the court of law are expected to mess up while raising the real issues. While some club officials are inexperienced, two Kolkata clubs are so deeply submerged in their own “tradition” that they don’t even notice when their houses go under water.

The issue before the clubs is not about ascent of ISL or the degradation of I-League. It is all about who should run Indian football? A public body recognised as an NSF or a private body formed solely for commercial purposes?

If the AIFF under Praful Patel is pursuing a policy of neo-liberalism, it should better explain. To set a trend where money is more important than performance is dangerous and totally defeats the purpose of competitive sport.

The ugly side of the beautiful game should not be allowed to raise its head.

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Meghalaya to face Bangladesh school in Subroto Cup boys U-17 final

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Subroto Cup

New Delhi: Hopewell Elias Secondary School of Meghalaya and Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Protisthan will face each other in the summit clash of the U-17 boys Subroto Cup international football tournament after they won their respective semifinals here on Sunday.

In the first semi-final, Hopewell Elias Secondary School beat BSL +2 High School of Jharkhand 3-2 to reach the final.today’s sports news

In the second semi-final, Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Protisthan defeated Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre 5-4 on penalty shoot-out to make it to the final.

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Close contests at Subroto Cup U17 Junior Boys quarter-finals

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Subroto Cup
Action during Saturday's Subroto Cup competition.

New Delhi: On Day 7 of the U17 Boys category in the Subroto Cup International Football tournament, four quarter- final matches were held. The first quarter-final saw 11 Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre, Army Boys defeat Tripura Sports School, Badharghat, Tripura 1-0, in a closely contested match.

In the other matches, BSL +2 High School, Sector II D, Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand saw the better of Govt. Pukpui High School, Pukpui (Lunglei), Mizoram in a penalty shoot-out, after the match remained drawn 1-1 at the end of the final whistle. In the tie-breaker, the Jharkhand school edged past Pukpui High school 4-2 for the final scoreline to read 5-3.

In another closely contested quarter-final match, Hopewell Elias Higher Secondary School beat Bampather Bengenabari Higher Secondary School, Charaideo, Assam 1-0. In the international quarter final match Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Protisthan (BKSP) saw the better of Esteqlal School from Afghanistan 2-1. The semi-finals are to be played on August 27, 2019.

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Benzema inspires Real Madrid, Fati lights up Barca win over Valencia in La Liga

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karim benzema
Karim Benzema exults after scoring on Saturday.

Madrid: Karim Benzema scored twice for Real Madrid in a 3-2 win against Levante with Eden Hazard making his La Liga debut while later Barcelona breezed to a 5-2 win against Valencia with more magic from 16-year-old Ansu Fati.

Benzema’s goals came just six minutes apart in the first half at a wet Santiago Bernabeu, before Casemiro put Real 3-0 up.

However Levante, who had won their previous two outings, made a fight of it in the second half as they pulled goals back through Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero.

Hazard also came off the bench for the final half-hour to make his first La Liga appearance after a thigh injury had interrupted the start of his Real career following his 100 million-euro ( 110 million) move from Chelsea.

The Belgian could now start when Real go to Paris Saint-Germain for their opening Champions League game on Wednesday.

Gareth Bale will also be available to face PSG after suspension kept him out here, but Sergio Ramos will be unable to play because of a European ban.

Zidane was also without the injured Luka Modric here. However, as well as Hazard, fellow summer signing Eder Militao came off the bench in the second half and the former Porto defender could start in Paris.

Fati scores again

Real would have won by a greater margin here had it not been for some inspired goalkeeping from Aitor Fernandez, who produced a stunning one-handed stop to keep out a Benzema shot midway through the first half.

Atletico Madrid retained their place at the top of the table, but only by one point from Real Madrid after their first defeat of the season when they lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad at the Basque club’s newly refurbished stadium.

Later, former Real Madrid assistant coach Albert Celades replaced sacked Marcelino Garcia Toral as boss of Valencia who were routed 5-2 at Barcelona.

With Lionel Messi still out and watching from the stands it was left to Fati, the teenager from Guinea-Bissau, to take the plaudits.

Fati, who became the third youngest La Liga scorer when he came off the bench to net in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna this month, scored again in the second minute, before providing the assist for Frenkie de Jong’s 7th minute goal.

The teenager earned his standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd when he came off after an hour.

Kevin Gameiro got Valencia off the mark but a brace from the fit again Luis Suarez after a contribution from Gerard Pique meant Max Gomez’s injury time second for the visitors was purely academic.

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