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IMG-R (FSDL) Paying No Heed To Players' Interest?

Friday, 10 March 2017|Staff Reporter
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FSDL, the IMG-R subsidiary running the Indian Super League is mulling over the idea to enforce Draft System for the teams to select players for the next edition. 

The draft system was put in place in the 2nd edition of the ISL but was done away the following year when teams were allowed to sign players from the open market. The idea behind bringing back the Draft System is to curb the influence of agents in inflating the wages of the players, a source informed earlier.

However, Football Players Association of India (FPAI) are not happy with the draft system coming back and have written twice to FSDL to not put that in place citing the consequences.

The letter read, “We have had serious and detailed discussions over the past month, with many senior and junior players from all the teams and the majorities are of the opinion that they are not in favour of having a Draft again, the way it was between Year One and Year Two of the Indian Super League as most players feel they will be forced to move to another Franchise even if they do not wish to, due to the Draft system. There are many obvious reasons for this, which we are sure you are aware of.”

Along with the request to not go ahead with the Draft System, FPAI proposed several other changes, the most important of them being to increase the number of Indian players per team in the ISL and also increase the number of Indians in the playing XI from 5 to 6. 

Requesting the FSDL to consider this point with immediate effect, the letter reads, “Increasing the playing eleven to 6 Indians and 5 foreigners is a must if Indian football is to further improve. For example having 48 Players instead of 40 Indian Players in the starting XI of all each round will only help the Indian National Team have a broader base of players to choose from. Also if you will remember FC Goa started a match with 9 Indian Players and performed better than they did with 5 Indian Players in other matches. There are enough instances to prove that the number of Indian Players in the Starting XI does not affect the overall standard of the Indian Super League.”

The players association have also requested the FSDL to do away with the Maximum Salary Cap put on Indian Players. However, they suggested to put in place a Minimum Salary Cap too if the Maximum is not done away with.

“The salary cap is causing the franchises to spend much more on Foreign Players while cutting down salaries on Indian Players. However between Season One and Season Three we have seen an increase in the standard level of Indian Players and unfortunately a decline in some of the Foreign Players. This is causing much ill feeling towards the Indian Super League where Indian Players are at times playing better and winning more caps than Foreign Players who take up a bulk of the salary and may only feature on the bench. A salary cap is not really required for Indian Players.”

The letter further reads, “The Indian Super League is the only league in the World where there is a Maximum Salary Cap but no Minimum Salary Cap. This is very negative by itself as every league that has a maximum limit for a squad has a minimum guaranteed salary per player in the squad as well in every such league around the world (Check MLS, A-League, other Franchise Leagues). This also ensures that Franchises only sign players who are deserving of playing in the Indian Super League and they spend the Minimum Salary on them and ensures player quality in the League.”

Two letters dated Jan 10, 2017 and Feb 23, 2017 (Both in possession of FeverPitch.in) have been sent to FSDL but the later seems to have paid no heed to the proposals put forth by FPAI.

Cyrus Confectioner GM, FPAI told FeverPitch, “Even though we send mails and are given assurances, nothing ever happens and the organisers do as they please. Unfortunately the players cannot revolt as it is also their bread & butter at the end of the day.”

“The idea should be to work together collectively (FPAI & FSDL) to improve the situation but they feel they are all knowing. This is what ails the game. If at the end of the day you cannot respect the wishes of the players how are you going to improve or run the game smoothly?”, he asked.

“It is obviously evident that FSDL are in for the commercial involvement if they cannot listen to us. The points in our letters sent to them are obvious to improve the game and ensure the well being of players,” he concluded.

Our effort to reach FSDL officials for their comments remained futile. We will bring you their side of the story as soon as we get to speak to them.