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How I-League clubs are being nudged towards slow death

Jaydeep Basu



I-League clubs have accused the AIFF of step motherly treatment towards them.

New Delhi: Please have a look at the sequence.

May 20, 2019: The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) emergency committee meets in the capital at the residence of its president Praful Patel. A decision is taken to open bid for induction of at least one new I-League.

May 26, 2019: National coach Igor Stimac says I-League has the tradition that money cannot buy.

June 15, 2019: The AIFF’s disciplinary committee meets in Kolkata. It decides to slap a fine of Rs. 27.5 lakh each on six I-League clubs for not participating in Super Cup. This is over and above the heavy fine imposed earlier for the same reason.

June 15, 2019: Mumbai based U-Mumba club announce they are suspending their trials to recruit footballers on the advice of AIFF. The outfit were widely tipped to join I-League.

June 17, 2019: Indian Super League (ISL) franchise outfit FC Pune City announce they are not shutting down. They may switch to another city.

Well, this is only a simple order of events happened in Indian football in the past one month. Let’s not make an effort to join them together and form an opinion.

But then, there is no doubt that any attempt to have a new team in I-League has been temporarily halted. A senior AIFF official said a process has to be followed.

“We have received a letter from our marketing partners. They have very rightly pointed out that as per the agreement, they have to be informed officially in case we plan to induct a few team in the I-League.

“Let us also make it clear that no one has even minutely hinted of putting a bar on us in having a new team. We will follow the process as and when we decide to have another team in the league,” the official said.

Interestingly, another piece of information came up from another source. A section in Indian football was interested to see U Mumba invest money for a club in the franchise based league. It didn’t happen. The reasons are not known.

I-League clubs were previously worried about being reduced to second division clubs. Now they are mainly concerned about existence. They are moving to the AIFF’s appeal committee to reduce fines, which may take away chunk of their annual budget.

If appeals are turned down, some of them may have to put the shutter down.

At the end of this month or early next month, AIFF executive committee is set to meet and act as per its agreement with marketing partners. The franchise based league will be declared the country’s main league.

“Again that is part of agreement. Legally, we are bound to make it official,” said a senior functionary.

To lose the tag of main league means losing the AFC Champions League qualifier spot. The AFC Cup spot is likely to go to winners of the Super Cup.

I-League clubs must heave a sigh of relief. They never have to worry about recruiting right number of foreigners for continental tournaments. There won’t be any live telecast and there are proposals to play I-League on regional basis.

Well, Igor Stimac was right, but only partly. Money cannot buy tradition. It can certainly kick you out of the market.

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



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’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



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



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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