The Indian Football Association had planned to begin a professional football league in India. While the announcement was made last year, there were a number of practical steps that needed to take place before the five-team tournament would be able to take place. The plan had been to model the professional football league on the franchise-based cricket tournament that already operates successfully in India.
There were, however, a number of logistical problems with the proposed Indian Football League. The Indian Football Association secretary general, Utpal Ganguly, said: “The main reasons for not pursuing the project further were logistics like the unavailability of stadiums and the backing out of some of the franchises for commercial reasons.”
Ganguly also noted that the proposed timing of the league, for February to March, was not a good time for foreign players. At this stage, the league has been indefinitely postponed.
There have also been problems in that there are no stadiums in the smaller towns in West Bengal. Anilava Chatterjee said: “We were told there were problems in getting grounds, especially in the smaller districts and the project was thus aborted.”
India currently is 166th in the FIFA rankings. There has always been somewhat of a problem with the infrastructure of the sport in India. Bog Houghton, a former coach from England, said that this lack of structure is the main problem with Indian football, and that his hinders the growth of the game in India.
Foreign football clubs have been trying to move things along with Indian football by arranging activities in India. Clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich have tried to increase their presence in the hopes that it will help to move things forward for Indian football.
There is, however, some hope for the football league. Bhaswar Goswami, the Celebrity Management Group’s executive director, said to the Associated Press that they “were organizing the tournament on behalf of the IFA. After the initial planning, IFA decided not to go ahead with the project. But we are planning another project together, almost on the same lines.”