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Match fee for men’s and women’s national team players on anvil, says AIFF secy general

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New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI): National team players, both men and women, will soon get match fees in a path-breaking initiative if All India Football Federation (AIFF) is able to increase its financial resources, a top official said on Thursday.

A slew of initiatives are set to be announced later this month as part of roadmap for Indian football development after the new executive council under Kalyan Chaubey took charge of the AIFF in September for a four-year tenure.

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AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran said the executive council will take a decision on introduction of match fee for the national team players. He did not give any time frame because of the budgetary constraints of the AIFF but indicated that it could be done during the current tenure.“Our men and women national team players must get a fee. We should not give just a token money, it should be something of economic value.

“If a player playing for the country is not gaining economically, then why the family or community would support him or her beyond a point. We will discuss this matter in the executive committee,” Prabhakaran said in an interview to PTI.

He admitted that the current AIFF annual budget of just over 100 crore will not allow match fee payment of the national team players immediately but said he is confident of increasing the financial resources of the federation to a level that will enable the implementation of the initiative.

“We have started discussions with our partners how we can grow commercially. We are having a dialogue with our commercial partner (FSDL) very openly. They are very open also. We are quite confident that we will create a win-win situation with them. We will have a better commercial situation within this four years.

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“We have appointed a director (commercial) last month for the first time to bring more money in the system from the market and to grow commercially. We can increase our financial resources by creating value for our partners. We will take help of local and global experts, as well as of the government.”

Prabhakaran, who is the first salaried and non-elected secretary general of the AIFF, said the commercial growth of the organisation is pivotal to the development of the game in the country.Prabhakaran rued that the AIFF budget is too little to fulfil the goals of the new executive council and said the target in four years is to increase it at least 10-fold.

“Today we have a budget of ` 110 crore. We cannot do anything with this. We cannot even do justice to our own competitions, forget international exposure, grassroots development, capacity building, supporting member associations etc.”

“For a country of 1.4 billion and football as the second most popular sport, this budget is nothing. Increasing our budget 10 times in the next four years is our priority.”

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“If the roadmap we are creating is not adequately funded and commercial success is not achieved, we will be as good as it is today. We need to grow 500 to 1000 per cent in four years.”

He said under the current AIFF budget (which is 16 crore deficit), the national team has an allocation of just ` 4-5 crore.

“What the 4 or 5 crore for a national team will do. With that money, we can’t go for more than two foreign competitions.”

Prabhakaran, a former Regional Development Officer for FIFA in South and Central Asia, also informed that the AIFF is setting up a foundation, a registered body which will reach out to the community and the society.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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