AIFF Media Team

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation’s League Committee met over video conferencing on Friday, June 30, 2023, to decide on the bids of the five applicants for corporate entries into the Hero I-League, after being examined and evaluated by an independent financial expert.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Lalnghinglova Hmar, and was attended by Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, and Committee Members Mr Amit Chaudhuri, Dr Kiran Chougule, Mr Arif Ali, Mr Caitanno Jose Fernandes, Mr KI Nizamuddin, Mr KP Singh, and Mr Satyanarayan M.

The AIFF had earlier received five bids for the Hero I-League 2023-24 as direct entrants: YMS Finance Pvt Ltd (Varanasi, UP), Namdhari Seeds Pvt Ltd (Bhaini Sahib Village, Punjab), Nimida United Sports Development Pvt Ltd (Bengaluru, Karnataka), Concatenate Advest Advisory Pvt Ltd (Delhi), and Bunkerhill Pvt Ltd (Ambala, Haryana).

Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said, “The current AIFF management will have its first AGM (Annual General Meeting) in Bengaluru next week (July 4), and I am sure we are all looking forward to it. Even more than that, we are all looking ahead to India’s campaign in the SAFF Championship. Having two teams from outside come and take part in the championship makes it all the more competitive. We also moved up one spot in the FIFA Men’s Rankings yesterday to 100, and that shows the steady progress that we are making, going ahead one step at a time. Hopefully, we will hit double digits soon.”

Speaking about the bids received from five different entities for corporate entries into the Hero I-League, the Secretary General said, “It is extremely encouraging to see that so many parties are interested in investing their money in Indian Football. They even plan to have their own infrastructure like stadiums, which is not an easy task in India. It shows that they have the resources and the bandwidth. The new clubs getting into the top league shows that there is interest and positivity and that money is going into football.”

League Committee Chairman Mr Hmar said, “We are at a crucial juncture in Indian Football. The SAFF Championship is ongoing, and the all-important AGM in Bengaluru is also coming up in a few days, the first one under the current Federation management. The future of Indian Football rests on what is decided in the next few days, and we need to see which clubs are welcomed into the system.”

He further said, “I would like to thank all the bidders for showing their trust in the Indian Football system. All the bidders have shown that they have the bandwidth and finances to run and operate clubs at the Hero I-League level. This is an achievement for the AIFF to receive so many bids. They will only help to add more value to Indian Football.”

The Committee found all the bids, which were examined and evaluated by the independent financial expert, have the requisite financial capabilities to operate in the Hero I-League. After reviewing the bid documents of all the candidates, the League Committee found it prudent to refer the final decision on the inclusion of the clubs to the Executive Committee, which meets in Bengaluru on July 3.