Despite making hue and cry over the sorry state of the I-League, top clubs Friday skipped the last meeting of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ad-hoc committee that was attended by AFC president Zhang Jilong and All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel.
The ad-hoc committee, which was set-up to assess the professional setup of the league and the club, met for the last time under the chairmanship of Jilong at the headquarters of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) here Friday.
It will now be replaced by a Task Force comprising members from FIFA Development Office, AFC Development and Competitions Committee and AIFF to progress the professional structure of the clubs.
But the none of the nominated members of the I-league clubs, who formed their association in March to voice their concern against the AIFF, were present in the meeting.
Rajeev Piramal (Pune FC director), Joaquim Alemao (Churchill Brothers president), Larsing Ming Sawian (Shillong Lajong owner) and Pranab Dasgupta (East Bengal president), the four nominated members from the I-League clubs were conspicuous by their absence.
A top AIFF official told IANS that clubs should have attended the last meeting of the AFC ad-hoc committee.
"It was a shame that none of the club members were present in the meeting. They have been making lot of hue and cry about the management of I-League. The meeting was the right platform to voice their concerns. But they missed a valuable opportunity," the official said.
Meanwhile, the committee praised the new initiatives taken by the AIFF to popularise the I-League, in terms of having an opening ceremony.
Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Developmental Officer for South and Central Asia, gave a report on the status of ‘Win India Project’ and highlighted the fact that all necessary clearances from FIFA legal department has been taken into consideration to complete the Cooperage Stadium in the next few months.
Kushal Das, general secretary, AIFF, presented a report of the current year’s I-League and also the calendar for the next edition. Das said the calendar for next season for all AIFF events including the I-League have been chalked out well in advance.
The next edition of I-League will allow some breathing space to the players as not more than five rounds would be held in a month.
Patel, the deputy chairman of the committee, said that from the next season most of the I-League matches would be played under the lights as almost all the venues would have floodlight facilities.