I-League gets 11th team, Kalyani Group buys Pune franchise'
The 2014-15 edition of the I-League, the country's elite football league, will be an 11-team affair after Kalyani Group bagged the Pune franchise rights, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced here Monday.
The AIFF bid evaluation committee accepted Pune-based Kalyani Group's proposal to participate in the I-League. Rendezvous Sports bid for the Hyderabad franchise was rejected.
Kalyani Group's team will take part in the 2014-15 I-League season which starts Jan 17, 2015. It will also be the second team from Pune after Piramal Group-owned Pune FC.
"The Kalyani group is excited about the opportunity provided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to participate in I-League. The group's football club from Pune will be a 'People's club' that will give a much needed boost to the sport and will take it to the next level in India and also promote it at the grassroots level," the group said in a statement.
"Sports like football is much needed for the people of Pune and will connect youth at the grass root level through various youth development programs. This initiative will also give people of Pune access to world class sports infrastructure and facilities. The Kalyani Group has always supported various sports initiatives such as tennis...The group will continue to significantly contribute to the development of these young sports talent," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Special Mission Team (SMT) led by AFC Research and Support Services Head Steve Tae H. Kim met here at the AIFF headquarters.
"The first objective of the meeting was to explain about the new change with the decision method for ACL (AFC Champions League) participation from the year 2015 and 2016. Now we solely rely on AFC MA (Member Association) ranking to decide slot numbers," said Steve.
Member association rankings are done considering 70 percent of the national team's performance in the last four years, which is basically the FIFA Rankings, and 30 percent of the performance in AFC competitions of all clubs combined.
"This means that performances of all the clubs over a period of four years will be taken into account when a club is to be judged for participating in AFC competitions. Until last year we used the points system to decide slot numbers.
"In the meeting we also discussed the ACL criteria comprising of individual interview for finances, club licensing, legal, sports integrity and the professional league (I-League)," he said.
The SMT will be travelling to I-League outfits Salgaocar, Bengaluru FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Dempo and East Bengal for inspection.
(Posted on 25-08-2014)