PLS auction postponed, future imperfect

Kolkata: The auction for the Indian players for the IFA-backed cash-rich Premier League Soccer, scheduled to be held on Saturday, was postponed on Saturday.

"The players` auction will not be held tomorrow. IFA (the organisers) want to sort out the issues with the AIFF and then we will go on a full-fledged basis. Utpal Ganguli (IFA secretary) is going to New Delhi to sort this out (with AIFF)," said Bhaswar Goswami of the Celebrity Management Group, the commercial partners of the tournament.

Goswami however maintained that the tournament was on course and would be held as per schedule -- March 24-May 6.

"We may have to hold the auction next week. But there is no change in tournament schedule. PLS is definitely on," Goswami added.

The event, football`s answer to the highly-successful IPL Twenty20 cricket with players like Hernan Crespon, Fabio Cannavaro on board, was mired in controversy when the parent body FIFA reportedly suspended permission to hire foreigners.

The AIFF, according to insiders, had asked FIFA to suspend the acquired passwords which enable the clubs to enter Transfer Matching System, a pre-requisite to hire a professional footballer.

Crespo is the costliest footballer of the tournament, having bought by the Barasat franchise for a whopping USD 840,000.

Italy`s World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro went for USD 830,000 (Siliguri), Robert Pires of France fetched USD 800,000 (Howrah), Nigerian Jay Jay Okocha got USD 550,000 (Durgapur) and Robbie Fowler of England was sold to Kolkata for USD 530,000.

The tournament offers a total prize purse of Rs 1.5 crore.