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AIFF says FIFA recommendations not feasible to implement right now

New Delhi: The All India Football Federation on Friday said that some of the recommendations made by the world governing body FIFA and its Asian counterpart AFC are "not feasible to implement as of now" and will need time to work on them.

The AIFF's defence came after FIFA on Thursday sought an update from the national federation on the current football scenario in the country after six I-League clubs made a representation to the world body.

The six I-League clubs have opposed the AIFF's move to make Indian Super League (ISL) the top tier of the domestic football structure. The AIFF, however, said that it "accepted" the recommendations of FIFA/AFC and was following them "broadly".

"Regarding this FIFA/AFC road map given in 2018, there are a lot of things which cannot be implemented right now. That's why we are trying to slowly implement them," AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said.

"We completely accept that FIFA/AFC has given these recommendations but some of these are probably a little bit tough to implement. We are following the path broadly but it will take time. If you go strictly according to the recommendations, it will not be easy to implement them," he added.

Das pointed out that the recommendations were not directives but of consultative nature. He said the AIFF has already told the AFC, after the official report was sent last year, that the recommendations were difficult to implement immediately.

"We told the AFC we accept these recommendations in good faith and we want to do it but give us little time. The AFC said fine. So, we will go back to the letter we sent to the AFC, saying (to FIFA) that these are the issues. "If you are saying to give financial guarantees and back guarantees, that is probably not going to be possible at this point in time. The clubs which may enter the top tier will be difficult to abide by the participation agreement and pay the existing franchise fee." Das made it clear that the recommendations in the road map, to be implemented over four to five years, have clearly stated that the ISL will be made the top tier league in the country.

The FIFA/AFC recommendations have talked about a unified league from 2019-2020 season starting with the existing 10 ISL teams and two others through sporting merit (read I-League champions) or bidding process. Adding two teams each season, the total number of clubs in the top tier league should reach 16 in the 2021-2022 season by which time the promotion/relegation system will kick in.

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