AIFF put under pressure as IMG-Reliance holds back ISL sponsor payment

July 2 – The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is facing a financial crisis as commercial partner IMG-Reliance, the backers of the Indian Super League, have not cleared a part of their dues. As a result, I-League champions Chennai City FC have not been paid prize money worth in excess of $2.5 million.

The non-payment by IMG-Reliance could amount to more than $50 million, according to local media reports. The AIFF is contractually entitled to receive an annual payment of $130 million from its commercial partner following an agreement signed between the AIFF and IMG-Reliance in 2010. IMG-Reliance bankrolls the Indian Super League, which runs concurrent to the I-League.

“We hope that we will get the prize money,” said Chennai City FC CEO Rohit Ramesh. “We are supposed to get what we deserve. I reached out to them (AIFF) officially regarding prize money by mail, but did not get any response. We are supposed to get ₹1 crore as winners. We got the big cheque on the day the championship was decided but not money.”

The withholding of the payment by IMG-Reliance is seen by many as an attempt to pressure the AIFF to install the ISL as India’s number one league. The AIFF executive committee is expected to take that decision in a meeting on July 3. In the Spring, I-League clubs pulled out of the Super Cup in protest against the AIFF and how it is handling the roadmap for the future of Indian football.

“AIFF has always been struggling,” said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.

“We just about manage to balance our book. We do so many activities, there is the youth league, the national championship, so much activity for the national team. There is this Inter-Continental Cup now happening every year, national team playing 10-12 matches every year.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1607157742labto1607157742ofdlr1607157742owedi1607157742sni@o1607157742fni1607157742

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