AFC calls for improvement in facilities

Kolkata: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today called for improvement in facilities so as to run the I-League in a more professional manner.

A six-member team of the AFC is in India to inspect I-League clubs.

"Though things have improved a bit than what it was say five years back, the current condition of the grounds and the grass at East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Chirag United needs a lot to be improved," delegation spokesman Tokuaki Suzuki told reporters here.

The astro-turf at Yuba Bharati Krirangan, a major I-league venue, has also not been maintained properly, while facilities at Howrah and Vidyasagar Stadium, the other two I-league grounds here, did not make the cut, he said.

Suzuki said facilities at the press boxes at these grounds as well as the media conference rooms left a lot to be desired.

Referring to East Bengal and Bagan being managed by the UB group, Suzuki said "there is no such provision either at FIFA or AFC. The AFC needs to discuss the issue with its legal experts and air their views at the November 2 meeting with the I-league clubs in Delhi."

"The issue would also be taken up with the concerned clubs," he said.

The five-member AFC team, which wrapped up their two-day visit here this afternoon, spoke to officials in in the club tents. Bagan and East Bengal officials made audio-visual presentation to them.

From club tents, the team went to Barasat, Salt Lake and Howrah stadium.

The delegation will now visit other I-league teams and venues before meeting the club representatives on November 2 at AIFF House in Delhi.

The AFC will announce its findings during the November 2 meeting and, in case a club fails to meet AFC`s club licensing criteria, it will get an additional two-months time to fulfill the same, within December 31, Suzuki said.

Some of the criteria of club licensing include stadium, media, game conduct, ticketing system, legal, finance, general administration, merchandising, youth development and academy, fan development and community development.

The club licensing criteria will not be effective during the 2010-11 I-League and is likely to be imposed from the next I-League season.
Besides Suzuki, who is AFC`s director of competition, other team members included Maskat Glychmamcdor (development manager of Professional Football Department of AFC), Steve Hyang (communication manager of Clubs Competition AFC), Brian Kuan (director of Internal Audit AFC) and Sunanda Dhar (CEO, AIFF - I-League).


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