Mr. Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation, chaired a meeting via video conferencing with all the State Member Associations and the AIFF Executive committee on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Also present in the meet were Senior Vice President Mr. Subrata Dutta, AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das, Vice Presidents Mr. Manvendra Singh, Mr. Larsing Ming, Mr. KMI Mather, Mr. Subash Chopra, AIFF Treasurer Mr. Z A Thakur, Deputy General Secretary Mr. Abhishek Yadav, Technical Director Mr. Isac Doru, CEO of Leagues Mr. Sunando Dhar, Women’s Committee Chairperson Ms Sara Pilot, League Committee Deputy Chairman Mr. Lalnghinglova Hmar, and many more.
Representatives from each of the State Associations were also present in the meet with Mr. Patel.
Mr. Patel expressed his condolence to the people of India who had lost their loved ones in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and asked the entire online gathering to maintain a minutes’ silence in remembrance to the lost souls.
“It is a very difficult year for the country and football in general. Almost everything had gone for a toss since last year, due to the pandemic. But we have still been able to complete the Hero Indian Super League and the Hero I-League, though in a much shorter time,” said Mr. Patel.
“As custodians of football we need to do the best we can to ensure that football can resume as soon as it is possible, and that players’ careers are not wasted. We are at a time when we are seeing challenges that we have never seen in our lifetime. Would request everyone to be careful, vigilant, and under the circumstances, do the best we can.
AIFF Technical Director Mr. Isac Doru also gave a brief presentation on how the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected football across the world. Drawing examples from 23 countries across the world, including the likes of the Netherlands (Eredivisie), Argentina (Liga Profesional de Futbol), Mexico (Liga MX), Romania (Liga 1), Japan (J-League and J2-League), Mr. Doru showed how different countries from across the world have frozen relegation during the time of the pandemic, in order to help the teams in difficult times.
“This year, because of the difficult circumstances, many teams have not been able to prepare, or practice, or play under normal conditions. As stakeholders, we need our leagues to be strong and support our clubs. While I am in full support of sporting merit in view of the unusual circumstances it would make sense to stop relegation for the just-concluded Hero I-League season, taking cue from practices across the world. Participation is equally important in these circumstances,” Mr. Doru said.
The President recommended that the matter be deliberated by the League Committee and recommendations forwarded to the Executive Committee for a final decision.
The AIFF President also declared his intentions to write to the governments of every state in order to get the senior footballers of the respective states vaccinated on a priority basis. “I plan to write to the heads of the governments of every state to give priority vaccinations to all the senior players. This will help us resume footballing activities a little earlier than usual, once the situation becomes more stable,” said Mr. Patel.