Chhetri wary of IPL-style football

Chhetri wary of IPL-style football

Chhetri wary of IPL-style football

Even as the deadlock over the proposed IPL-style football tournament persists, India captain Sunil Chhetri on Monday supported the venture saying it was important to "glamourize” the sport but insisted it should not come at the loss of I-League. 

All India Football Federation (AIFF) alongwith its commercial and marketing partners IMG-Reliance, is planning to start an IPL-style football tournament in January 2014.

However, the proposal has not gone down well with the I-League clubs, who under I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA), have decided not to release their players or to take any players associated with the tournament on loan.
Chhetri, who currently plays for Churchill Brothers on loan in the I-League, hoped the concerned authorities would come up with a “mutual consent” plan.
“It is the worst situation for a player, where he is forced to choose one of the two. I hope, AIFF, IMG and IPFCA would come with a mutual consent plan and things would be resolved,” Chhetri told reporters at the start of a six-day summer training camp organised by 'Letzplay’ at the Ambedkar stadium.

 “For me glamourization of football is very important but not at the cost of talent pool we have. At the same time we should not lose I-league. I hope whatever is decided is good for Indian football,’’ he added.

Chhetri was confident India would bag the bid for under-17 World Cup in 2017.“I have a feeling that FIFA wants India to have it. There are certain criteria which obviously FIFA wants us to fulfil. It will be a pity if FIFA wants it and we couldn’t deliver,” he said.

“It’s a huge event. If and when it is announced, from that day every child in that age group should get a chance to be part of the Indian squad. For that we need so many academies and grassroot development programmes all over the country.
“Only then we could have the best of our talents playing in the World Cup. It will be a boost for Indian football and we could build on the legacy of the tournament,’’ Chhetri added.

The 28-year-old was upbeat about giving back to the sport through the camp and wanted the kids to learn about the life of a footballer. 

“The whole foundation of the coaching camp was the things I didn’t know when I was 13-14, these kids should know. And it really helps when you are young and you have the knowledge.

“The focus will be on ball work. I will interact with kids about one topic a day after training. Today (Tuesday) I have chosen nutrition and rest. They should go back after the camp thinking something changed for them,’’ he added.

Asked about his coming season, Chhetri said: “I have to go back to Portugal. I have a deal with them, one more year is left. Once I am done I come back here and then we will see.”