AIFF planning to take over three football stadiums


New Delhi : To build its own infrastructure, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has offered to take over three stadiums on lease.

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AIFF President Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi, Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar Stadium and the Jamshedpur Stadium had been shortlisted.

“We are in discussion with the state governments so that the stadiums are leased to us for at least 35 years. It will help us build the infrastructure for the sport in the country,” Dasmunsi told reporters here Tuesday.

The AIFF president also added that second edition of the I-League, which was to start in mid-September, might be postponed by a week at the request of the India Football Association (IFA) and that Silchar and Guwahati have been selected as neutral venues for the league. The IFA, which is the governing body of the sport in West Bengal, is yet to complete its local league.

“We have also selected the D.Y. Patil Sports Complex as a possible venue for the Mumbai leg of the I-League matches but the civic authorities are asking for a huge rent of Rs.1.2 million a match. It is a huge sum and for that I have asked our senior vice-president Praful Patel to look into it,” he said.

Dasmunsi added that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has agreed to be the title-sponsor of the I-League for the fourth year running.

With India qualifying for the 2011 Asia Cup, Dasmunsi urged national captain Bhaichung Bhutia, also present at the occasion, not to take any decision on retirement in haste and added that chief coach Bob Houghton will also be given an extended contract.

He urged the corporate sector to invest in football by saying: “We need the help of the corporate sector in building infrastructure to prepare for the Asian Cup. We have to do well in 2011 and in the next three years we will need at least Rs.20 million per year for the preparation,” he said.

Dasmunshi said a proper planning for the preparation of the Asian Cup will start after Houghton returns from holiday.

“Though 2011 is far away, we have to start from now. We have to hunt talent from all parts of the country. After Bob returns we will chalk out a plan for the Asian Cup,” he said.