'Corporate clubs get disbanded in the blink of an eye'

'Corporate clubs get disbanded in the blink of an eye'

Shabbir Ali, former Indian captain and current coach of Mohammedan Sporting, while being disappointed at the news, felt it was just a matter of time.

“It is very disappointing. But this is the problem with corporate clubs. They tend to get disbanded in the blink of an eye,” said Shabbir, who is here for the I-League II division final phase. “I can’t understand why it happens with corporate clubs. They spent crores on advertisement slots on television; why can’t they invest that much in a football club, ensuring visible coverage throughout the year?”

He felt fan-based clubs are the way to go for Indian football.
“Fan-based clubs are the only way of protecting teams. One cannot disband ‘people clubs’ just like that.

“Look at Mohammedan Sporting. It is not possible to just shut down a club like this just because someone upstairs decides they have had enough with football,” Shabbir, the former India U-19 coach remarked.

Shabbir felt the problem was with corporate structures and the way they function.
“In corporates if the chairman changes one day and the new one decides that the football club is not the way to go, then this is what happens.”
“I remember in the 70s when Tatas, Mafatlal and Caltex all had football teams and they were all right up there with the best. Then suddenly they decided they had had enough with football and that was the end of the road.”
Shabbir felt discontinuing regular Indian tournaments as suggested by National coach Bob Houghton was not the way forward.

“I cannot understand how Houghton, whom I have a lot of respect for, can say that tournaments like Santosh Trophy, IFA Shield and Durand Cup should be discontinued. What Indian football and footballers need is the chance to play football and that is only possible with these tournaments. Not everyone can play in the I-League.”
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