Millennium Post

Work closely with AIFF: FIFA to I-League clubs

New Delhi: In a major move, FIFA has asked I-League clubs to co-operate with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and work towards the development of football in the country.

FIFA's Acting Deputy Secretary General Mattias Grafstrom has written to Minerva Punjab FC Director Ranjit Bajaj and asked the other I-League clubs to also work in tandem with the AIFF as the global governing body feels that it is important that all stakeholders co-operate to ensure that the best way forward is found for top-level football in the country.

"The review performed in 2018 did indeed identify a number of complex issues which require a prudent and measured approach, encompassing the positions of all relevant stakeholders, in order be appropriately addressed. After further discussions, it was clear that there are numerous aspects of the recommendations that still require further consideration prior to them being implemented.

"We understand that based on this the AIFF President has met the clubs and suggested a short-term solution until a more sustainable long-term solution can be found following continued consultation with all stakeholders. We therefore strongly believe that the AIFF is best placed to do this and we are confident that a thorough and effective process can be managed by the AIFF in its role as the governing body for football in India," he wrote.

He went on to add that while FIFA along with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is there to assist and support AIFF in their endeavour, the clubs also need to work closely with AIFF.

"FIFA, together with the AFC, remains available to assist and support the AIFF with this process and it will be important that all clubs work closely with the AIFF as the cooperation of all stakeholders will be fundamental to ensuring that the best way forward for top-level football in India is found," he pointed.

Earlier, six I-League clubs - Minerva Punjab FC, Mohun Bagan, Quess East Bengal, Churchill Brothers Goa, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala FC - had written to FIFA Chief Gianni Infantino asking him to intervene and save Indian football. Bajaj had signed the letter which had urged FIFA to help the clubs as they fight for survival.

But the FIFA has made it clear that the clubs must co-operate with the AIFF for the betterment of Indian football.

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