`India, sponsors big hurdles for SAFF Club Championships`

Kathmandu: South Asian Football Federation President Kazi Mohammed Salahuddin on Tuesday rued that lack of commitment from India and sponsorship problems were holding them back from launching a club competition among the South Asian member-nations.

The regional football body had proposed to launch the inaugural edition of the SAFF Club championship in September in Bangladesh with participation of two clubs each from India and the hosts, along with one club each from other SAFF nations.

India were to be represented by 2011-12 I-League winners Salgocar SC and runners-up East Bengal while Bangladesh League Champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi and runners-up Muktioddha Sangsad KC were to represent the hosts.

"This championship is my biggest dream. But when I talk to India, they are not comfortable with the schedule. There are two big problems, India and the sponsorships. Indian team is very important," Salahuddin said on the sidelines of the draw ceremony of SAFF Championship to be held here from September 1-11.

Salahuddin, the best player produced by Bangladesh, said he would again pursue it with All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"AIFF should give us time to hold the Championship," he said.

AIFF has not said "no" to the championships but only expressed reservation about the slot of the tournament.

"It is hard to find the slot, keeping in mind the current calender. Where`s the time?" asked Shubankar Mukherjee, who represented AIFF at the draw ceremony.

"We will discuss. I do not deal with clubs so can`t say much. Let`s see," Mukherjee, who is AIFF Director national teams, added.