AIFF to call off its deal with Zee, RIL-IMG to step in

AIFF, whose deal with Zee is to run till 2014, felt that it did not get the desired publicity or coverage for its showpiece I-League. 

Delayed payments from Zee Sports did not help matters and  after Praful Patel took over as the AIFF president the federation decided to review the deal.

Even though the deal is till 2014, there is a clause to review it after five years and taking advantage of it the AIFF has decided to terminate the contract.

A top AIFF official told IANS that Patel and secretary-general Alberto Coalco held several rounds of meetings with Zee Sports officials to amicably end their association.

"We have realised the reach of Zee Sports was not good enough to promote the sport, the I-League in particular. Now that we have promised our new sponsors Panasonic India's eight international games a year, besides I-League, we do not want to take chances with the television coverage," the official said.

The official said that RIL-IMG will step in as the new marketing and telecast partner.
"RIL-IMG will be our new marketing and telecast partner. They will now sell our telecast rights and hopefully we will get a good revenue," he said.

RIL and IMG Worldwide, the world's leading sports marketing and management company, earlier this year formed a joint venture, IMG Reliance Pvt Ltd to develop, market and manage sports and entertainment in India.

As a first step, IMG Reliance Pvt Ltd has already decided to sponsor the under-15 team for four years.

"The team will train at IMG's base in Florida for four years and it is surely be a big step towards youth development. Since forging the joint venture earlier this year they had shown their interest in football and we will have more tie-ups in future," the official said.
The AIFF has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Modi Entertainment, owned by B.K. Modi, to host an international tournament next year.

The AIFF has held two meetings with officials of the Modi Entertainment and the plan is to host an eight-team tournament next year.

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