All India Football Federation (AIFF) has come down heavily on teams which failed to fulfill club licensing criteria. And come the next edition of I-League 2014-15, four teams will not participate in the tournament including former champions Churchill Brothers.
In 2010, the Asian Football Federation pushed the clubs to accomplish the licensing criteria if they wanted to be a part of the AFC Champions League.
On Wednesday, the AIFF Club Licensing Committee met at their football house in New Delhi and figured that these teams had not achieved the norms. It was decided on the basis of the documents provided by all the parties concerned and the inspection conducted by the AIFF team in the month of April/May. They (committee) found that nine out of the 13 applicants have made the grade.
Bengaluru FC, Dempo SC, Pune FC, Salgaocar SC, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Sporting Clube de Goa, Mumbai FC, and Shillong Lajong FC have successfully fulfilled the licensing criteria while United SC, Churchill Brothers, Mohammedan Sporting and Rangdajied United have not been up to the mark.
Mumbai FC and Shillong Lajong have been granted only the National License compared to their counterparts who have both National as well as the AFC certificate.
"It is shocking to hear that a club (Churchill Brothers) which has achieved so much in Indian football is being penalised. We will find our way out," said Churchill Brothers CEO, Valanka Alemao.
Churchill Brothers were the winners for two years, and this year they escaped the relegation after beating Salgaocar 2-1 in their last league match.
"Everyone said that for the first time, a defending champion is likely to be relegated but we managed to stay in the league and at the end, we hear this," added a dejected Alemao.
"The message has gone across that AIFF is very serious on licensing and I am glad at the progress of the clubs," Airtel I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said in a release.
"We have conducted two to three seminars since the First Instance Body met for the first time and gave the clubs a year's exemption. We have been there to help the clubs and we are committed to further aiding them in each and every department of Club Licensing. It's nice to see most of them responding so well," added Dhar.
Requirements for licensing criteria
1. Attendance: Average ticket price - Not free of charge; Attendance per match being 5000.
2. Game Operation: Different circulations for the spectator, media, players officials and VIP are secured; A security officer is appointed
3. Media: Each stadium has a media tribune; each stadium has a media working room
4. Stadium: A-class stadium with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats; quality turf condition, size of pitch to be of FIFA standard.
5. Clubs: 18 Players under professional contract in the top team of each club; all clubs having revenue such as:
a) Gate receipts, b) media rights, c) sponsorship, d) merchandising, e) transfer fee income and f) revenue distributed from the league.