PLS deferred but well on course : IFA

Kolkata: The troubled Premier League Soccer (PLS) is on course but it has been deferred, the Indian Football Association said here on Tuesday.

"It`s very much on course and will happen in the state. But with certain prevailing issues the tournament is deferred. New dates would be announced soon," said IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguli.

The IPL-like version of football was earlier scheduled for a March 24 start but with the latest crisis surrounding stadium allottment by the state government, it`s set for a month`s postponement, insiders said.

The IFA-backed tournament first found itself in troubled waters when AIFF objected at the governing body of FIFA about the transfer of foreign players without proper affiliation of the six clubs.

But after the issue was sorted out IFA is now facing another roadblock with Bengal Sports Minister Madan Mitra objecting to the tournament, saying that he was not kept in the loop and that the state-owned grounds were already booked for other purpose.

There was another technical hurdle when the state sought the financial background of the franchise owners as a precondition to allow them to use its stadium and infrastructure as more than Rs 100 crore was spent securing the teams and international stars like World Cup winning Italy captain Fabio Canavaro, Argentine star Hernan Crespo among others.

The IFA meanwhile has asked the promoters of the tournament, Celebrity Management Group, to furnish the audited statement of accounts of the franchises.

The IFA is likely to seek the clearance of the state`s Sports Ministry after procuring the stipulated documents and then a fresh date would be announced.