Benevolent Fund for former footballers in offing

By Abhishek Roy


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New Delhi : Former footballers of India will soon benefit from a Benevolent Fund being created by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The AIFF agreed to create the fund after the demand was put up strongly by the Football Players' Association of India (FPAI).

"We have asked AIFF to have a Benevolent Fund for former footballers with an initial amount of Rs.10 million. They have agreed and we will soon have it. We have also asked that a member of the players' body be on the trustee board of the Benevolent Fund," Sumeet Mukherjee, chief executive of FPAI, told IANS.

A three-member delegation of FPAI – president Bhaichung Bhutia, Deepak Mondal and Mukherjee – met AIFF general secretary Alberto Colaco Saturday in a bid to settle the contentious issues in the model contract for players. The idea to have a Benevolent Fund was mooted there.

"We have handed the AIFF a model contract on our behalf and have also asked them to take care of issues like endorsements, injury and registration. The AIFF has assured us that they will look into it," said Mukherjee.

The FPAI, set up last year, wants that individual endorsements should be taken care of in the new contract and should not clash with the club's interest.

"Players should have the rights for individual endorsements and shouldn't be forced by the club to endorse products of the club's sponsors.

"Even players should have the rights to endorse their boots and gloves by their individual sponsors. It shouldn't be like that if Mohun Bagan has a contract with Reebok, then a player of the team who has a contract with Nike will have to wear Reebok's boot," Mukherjee said.

Transfer of players is always a hot topic at the end of the season. To make things simpler, FPAI has asked the AIFF to have four registration copies of a player.

"One copy will be with the club, the other with the state association, one with the player and the other with AIFF," said the FPAI chief executive.

Mukherjee also said that they have asked AIFF to make changes in the contract on the injury front.

"According to the original contract, the club could deduct a player's salary if he was injured for more than six weeks. We have asked AIFF to make medical insurance compulsory for the players so that no one is at a loss," he said.