AIFF hikes the Participation Fee for I-League Qualifiers by 150%

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AIFF (All India Football Federation) has requested the clubs. Which are nominated to play in the upcoming I-League Qualifiers to pay a sum of ₹2.5 lakhs as a Participation Fee. However, this Fee is 1.5 Times higher than last year.

In the previous editions of the Competition, there was a Participation Fee. But the clubs are asked to pay ₹1 Lakh. Due to this hike in Participation Fees, some State Football Association showed their concerns to the AIFF. Additionally, they also requested AIFF to reconsider the Fee.

AIFF has sent the requirements for the licencing process through a letter to all the nominated clubs. The requirements are below:

  • The club should pay a one-time fee of INR 2,50,000 (Two Lacs Fifty Thousand Rupees) to the AIFF, as a Participation Fee for the Qualifiers (the “Participation Fee”), on or before 11:59 pm of 11th August 2021.
  • In addition to the Participation Fee, the club should submit a Bank Guarantee to the AIFF for an amount of INR 25,00,000 (Twenty Five Lacs Rupees), on or before 11:59 pm of 14th August 2021.
  • The club must submit a duly signed Club Licensing Agreement (the “Agreement”) to the AIFF on or before 11:59 pm of 9th August 2021.
  • The club must submit a duly signed declaration form (“Annexure 1“), regarding the forfeiture of the Bank Guarantee in certain circumstances, on or before 11:59 pm of 14th August 2021. 

Concerns of the state Associations

Few associations like Football Delhi has written a letter to the President of AIFF. And expressed their struggles in Indian Football during this Pandemic situation. And stated that “this is extreme, and unfair”, and asked him to reconsider the Participation Fee.

Pandemic and other factors put many Clubs in financial trouble. And AIFF is responsible for conducting tournaments in India. And either clubs which is nominated for I-League Qualifiers are not in the position to pay.

“It is not hard for them to do so, considering how they have a sponsorship deal with FSDL, money from Sports Authority of India (SAI) and a grant from FIFA.” – Said a source close to a club.

“A bank guarantee is fine. But, the federation is also asking for a lock-in period, which is not sustainable for us”. – Further added by the source.

It is to be noted that there was no bank guarantee in the previous editions of the competition. Additionally, the State Associations also questioned the AIFF’s Letter. Which they maintain that this kind of information should be received by them before the tournament. And next at the final stages.

AIFF’s “Net-Worth” Clause

Additionally, it is noted that there is a Clause in AIFF’s Letter. In which the AIFF will select the 10 clubs with the highest net worth to play in the Qualifiers. This is implied only when more than 10 clubs meet the required criteria for the Licensing process.

“The I-League Qualifiers will take place inside a bio-bubble in Bengaluru, in September. As a result, there is absolutely no possibility of allowing more than 10 teams. The All India Football Federation will be paying for all costs.” – Said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.

“Last season the I-League Qualifiers had two rounds. The first was a preliminary round, which did not take place inside any bio-bubble. The clubs bore all expenses in that phase. Only the final round was played in the bio-bubble in Kolkata. This season, however, there will only be one round which will be held in the bio-bubble. Clubs will not have to spend anything since AIFF is bearing all the expenses.” – Further added Kushal Das for a hike in Participation Fee.

Sunando Dhar (I-League CEO) further clarified the bank guarantee as the League will begin in December. And even though the qualifiers are in September there is not much time left in-between.

“If a club that cannot pay the bank guarantee are promoted to the I-League, it will be impossible for them to participate in the league. The expenses will be much higher than the qualifiers. The bank guarantees will also be returned to the clubs, once the tournament is over..” – said Sunando Dhar about the bank guarantee.

Clubs View

However, some clubs also expressed their concerns over this issue. And they said they would have to pay the fees and no other choice left for them.

“We understand the purpose of AIFF’s participation fee. There is nothing we can do, apart from paying the amount. We love football and cannot leave the game.” – Said one of the Club official.

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