The Asian Football Confederation’s Ad Hoc Committee for Indian Professional Football met at the All India Football Federation Headquarters, the “Football House” on Friday under the Chairmanship of AFC President Zhang Jilong. Praful Patel, President AIFF, and the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, was also present at the occassion.
The Committee lauded India’s efforts and AFC General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay, who was a part of the evaluation team sent to India in 2004, lauded the huge progress made in India since 2004.
The Committee also praised the new initiatives taken by the AIFF in terms of having an Opening Ceremony for the I-League and hoped that the league will grow significantly in value and stature in the coming years.
Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Developmental Officer for South and Central Asia, gave a report on the status of the “Win India Project” and highlighted the fact that all necessary clearances from FIFA’s legal department has been taken into consideration to complete The Cooperage Stadium (Mumbai) in the next few months.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das presented a report of the on-going I-League season and also the calendar for the next season’s edition. Das stressed that the calendar for all AIFF events in the next season including the I-League have been chalked out well in advance.
He further mentioned that the calendar ensures that not more than five rounds of I-League matches would be held in a month, which will allow the players sufficient time for match recovery and the clubs to plan properly.
AIFF President Praful Patel mentioned that most of the I-League matches would be played under lights next season with almost all venues proposed to get floodlight facilities.
The meeting concluded with the chairman expressing his desire to see Indian football rise to the next level, but also cautioned that India should ensure doing the right things in a professional manner rather than trying to do it in a hurried manner.
He also said that although this is the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee, a Task Force comprising of members from the FIFA Development Office, AFC Development & Competitions Committee and the AIFF/I-League will be set up to continuously progress and monitor Indian football.
Praful Patel thanked the AFC for their continuous support and guidance.
(Edited AIFF Press Release)
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