I-League clubs agree to release players for national camp

New Delhi: I-League clubs, under the banner of Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA), have given their green signal to let their players join the national camp which commences on August 1st to prepare for the Nehru Cup.

Earlier they had written to the central administrative body for football stating that the players would be released only in accordance to the FIFA regulations wherein a player must join the national camp 14 days prior to the tournament’s kick-off.

It must be remembered that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and their commercial and marketing partners, IMG-Reliance had promised to get back to the clubs with a long term plan for Indian football by April 20 keeping the interests of the clubs in mind, given that in the present day scenario there is no avenue for them to cash in on.

Since then, the Indian FA and IMG-Reliance have been incommunicado, which understandably hasn’t gone down well with the clubs.

However, as expected, the clubs have allowed their players to join the national camp on the 31st of this month after having received a letter from Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary, requesting them to do the needful.

“The tone of the letter was humble as opposed to the previous letters from the AIFF wherein they would demand the players from us. This is what appealed to us. We sent out an internal mail to IPFCA members and thereafter it was decided that the players shall be released on July 31st,” informed a club official.

“The AIFF initially wanted the players on July 23rd which we refused to comply with. They mentioned that the clubs are a part of the AIFF and with the appointment of the new coach; they need him to spend more time with the boys ahead of the Nehru Cup. So for this case, we have agreed to release the players,” added another club official.

Meanwhile the national camp will be held at Jaypee Greens at Greater Noida. This was after the AIFF couldn`t find a suitable training ground in the national capital, as per coach Wim Koevermans` needs. The Dutchman had suggested for a camp in Dubai which was rejected and the option of training at Bangalore was put forth. However it is reliably learnt that the coach wasn`t keen on training on an artificial turf.


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