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A big endorsement for IMG-Reliance

3. A big endorsement for IMG-Reliance

The report lauds the work IMG-Reliance have done over the last few years to increase the popularity over the last few years in a big way. It also mentions the contribution of the Ambani family, especially that of ISL founder and chairperson Mrs Nita Ambani, in steering Indian football in a new direction.

The authors assert that in wishing success to Indian football they hope IMG-Reliance will continue with their involvement in the sport, 

"The successes of the ISL are recognised by all, and attributed in particular to the commitment of and investment by the Reliance ownership, the Ambani family, specifically the Founder and Chairperson, Mrs Nita Ambani. In our view, it is vital for the future success of Indian football that the high-level support from the Ambani family continues into the future...

We are certain that success for the new top – level league structure at Tier 1 and 2 requires the same impressive commitment and investment from the Ambani family, IMG-Reliance and Star, that has created the successes of the ISL. Our view is that the Tier 1 and 2 leagues must be operated by an equivalent to Football Sports Development Limited, as now is the case for the ISL."

This is a crucial piece of endorsement from the powers that be; it legitimizes IMG-R's all-encompassing control over Indian football. The authors lay out a detailed suggestion on how IMG-Reliance will share the commercial and administrative rights of the new league system with the AIFF,

"This operating company will have all rights in relation to Tiers 1 and 2 as operators of the competition, subject only to termination by AIFF in the event of fundamental or repeated breach of clearly established performance objectives set by agreement in the best  interests of Indian football. The model that we recommend to be followed is similar to that which was adopted by UEFA, TEAM and the top European clubs with the UEFA Champions League.

Through this model, the AIFF would not have day-to-day involvement in the management of Tier 1 and Tier 2 leagues. Powers of the AIFF and oversight mechanisms would be established in a Founding Agreement and in the Rules of the AIFF and the leagues themselves. 
This Founding Agreement will be a renegotiation of the existing AIFF/IMGR/FSDL agreement. It will have to cover all aspects of the new structure and relationship, including establishing obligations on all parties. It would include financial contribution from Tier 1 and Tier 2 to the AIFF and/or investment and promotional obligations in, for instance, participation, youth development, referee development, coach development etc.

The Founding Agreement will establish obligations on the AIFF for minimum service standards to the league competitions. It will establish matters which will remain under the ultimate jurisdiction of the AIFF (for instance through a veto right) such as protecting promotion/relegation, season dates/match calendar, player quotas, foreign player rules, international release beyond FIFA Statutes, 'parachute payments' etc."

This opens up the possibility that IMG-Reliance will be able to negotiate for having a principal stake in Indian football for much longer than their original agreement with AIFF signed in 2010, which is set to expire in 2025.

There's also a major revelation in this report on how the I-League was treated by AIFF and IMG-R. Find out...

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