Proposed Indian football league fails to take off
KOLKATA, India (AP) — A proposed Indian professional football league that was to feature the likes of former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, has been scrapped owing to logistic problems.
The five-team tournament planned on the lines of the successful franchise-based Indian Premier League cricket tournament was announced with much fanfare by the Indian Football Association but things failed to move after a players' auction in January last year.
"The main reasons for not pursuing the project further were logistics like the unavailability of stadia and the backing out of some of the franchises for commercial reasons," IFA secretary-general Utpal Ganguly told The Associated Press. "Besides, the timing of the league was not suitable for foreign players."
The league was originally planned for February-March last year before being postponed indefinitely.
Indian football has always had a problem of infrastructure with former coach Bog Houghton of England citing as one of the main reasons for the lack of progress in the game. India is currently placed 166th in the FIFA rankings.
Anilava Chatterjee of private firm Grey Mind, which had bought one of the five franchise teams, said the problem lay with getting stadiums in smaller towns of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.
"We were told there were problems in getting grounds, especially in the smaller districts and the project was thus aborted," Chatterjee told AP.
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