AIFF proposed U-15 League is all set to kick-off from September 2015

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07.07.2015: AIFF PRESS RELEASE : All India Football Federation's proposed U-15 League is all set to kick-off from September 2015. The announcement came during the I-League Workshop held at AIFF Headquarters, Football House on Tuesday (July 7). Speaking on the occasion, I-League CEO Mr. Sunando Dhar stated that the League 'stays compulsory as per the Club Licensing criteria.'

'If you look into the Club Licensing criteria it's mandatory for the Clubs to have junior Teams. After the success of the U-19 I-League, the intention was very much there to move into the junior age categories and we are glad to announce the launch of the U-15 League,' he stated. Both Stephen Constantine, the National Coach and Scott O'Donell, AIFF Technical Director, welcomed 'the step.' This is the beginning of us looking at junior age-groups. With the U-15 sorted out - we should be venturing into the U-13 and U-11 from now on.'

AIFF Technical Director Scott O'Donell felt the 'proposed U15 Youth League is absolutely essential for the development of our young Players in India.' One of our biggest issues is the lack of Competitions for our youngsters. Even in the States that do have competitions, they normally last for maybe two months. It is not enough'.

Besides the AIFF Academy, Teams from the I-League, 2nd Division, private Academies would be taking part in the League. Furthermore, for the first time, the Regional Centers of Sports Authority of India would also be locking horns for the same. Dhar informed that the format of the League will stay the same as the U-19 I-League.

'The zonal phases would be played on a home and away basis while the final phase would be played at a Central venue,' he pronounced. The venue for the final phase is to be zeroed down soon. 'The biggest challenge it to curb age fraud. The honesty and integrity of the Clubs would be at stake," O'Donell maintained.

Constantine further added that 'we need to accept that it is through our Indian youth system that we are going to build a Team for the future. Unfortunately everybody wants results immediately but there is no shortcut when it comes to development." O'Donell stressed on the importance of a 'periodisation calendar.'

'A periodisation calendar for Indian Youth Teams is the opposite of what most developed Football Countries calendars look like. In developed Football Countries, the Players may play for 7 or 8 months, rest for two months and have a pre-season/preparation for two months. In India, they play for two months, train and prepare for 8 months and rest for the other two. How can we compete? It makes it very difficult," the Technical Director opined.

'Some people tell me that it is very difficult in India because we have exams, monsoon season, hot weather etc, but so do other Countries. We have to try and find some solutions to these problems.' Playing competitive games is part of a Players development. We have had some boys who have played in our National age-group Teams who played their first competitive game of Football at the AFC Qualifiers,' O'Donell stated.

'Playing Friendly games is OK but it doesn't prepare the Players for the battle of Competition. In a friendly game if you give away a penalty or you get a silly yellow card, there are no consequences. But conceding a penalty in an AFC qualifier may be the difference between qualifying or exit. Getting an unnecessary yellow card may result in a team not having their best Player available for an important game,' he added. 'Playing Competitive Football is an essential part of the Young Player's development.'

Both Constantine and O'Donell stressed on the same as the 'next step.'Constantine felt 'it should not either begin or end there.'I want to see State Associations holding Regional Leagues in the U-13, U-11 and U-9 categories. And it doesn't end even there. We need to develop a Football culture in the Schools, Universities and playschools. Only then will we start producing World Class Players," he said in one breath.

O'Donell also spoke on exactly the same lines. 'The next step is for all of the State's to have their own Youth League Competitions (U-14, U-16, U-19) that have enough teams so that the Competition last for a decent amount of time. Then the winners of the respective State Competitions can play against the other winners from the other States,' he pronounced. 'It is obviously going to take some time but I think it can happen. And if it does we (Players, Coaches, Referees, Administrators, etc) would all benefit.'

All India Football Federation Club Licensing Workshop 2015 Report

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07.07.2015: AIFF PRESS RELEASE : All India Football Federation will conduct Club Licensing Workshop on 7th July, 2015 for all the Hero I-League clubs. CEOs, Directors along with Finance Officers from the respective clubs are invited by the I-League department for this particular workshop which is scheduled to take place tomorrow at AIFF Football House.

Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF feels players charge exorbitant fees in Hero I-League and none other than the clubs suffer much because of the players' uncompromising behaviour on salaries. He raised a point about putting a salary cap for players in the Hero I-League workshop which was successfully conducted today in the Football House, All India Football Federation and club officials seconded him wholeheartedly. Meanwhile, he voiced that another broadcaster have shown interest to televise the upcoming Hero I-League which might shoot up Hero I-League’s popularity by quite a few times. Twenty six representatives from eleven Hero I-league clubs attended the daylong workshop where many a moot point was delved in.

Mr. Sunando Dhar congratulated McDowell Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC and Royal Wahingdoh FC for their tremendous success in the enthralling Hero I-League 2014-15 and Aizawl FC, the newest member of Hero I-League contingent received all the accolades for their triumph in the Second Division League.

2015 will see a giant leap in Indian football history as the Youth U15 League will embark its journey on September, 2015. It'll comprise of round robin stage followed by knockout phase akin to the current U19 league structure. Mr. Scott O'Donnell, Technical Director, AIFF, addressed the club officials about the long term effects of running the league and how a U15 team could be encashed in future.

The topic of marquee player was put forward by I-League officials in the afternoon session by I-League committee. Albeit the club officials welcomed the idea of marquee player, they have collectively requested to unchange the marquee criteria till next season. AIFF technical team will have further discussion amongst themselves on this matter and they'll get back to the clubs with clearer views. Club officials, who attended the workshop, were asked to nominate a three-member team who could coordinate with AIFF Technical team and liaison with Hero I-League clubs. The three-member core team would coordinate directly with the AIFF Technical team comprising of Mr. Kushal Das, Mr. Scott O'Donnell, Mr. Stephen Constantine, Mr. Sunando Dhar and I-League department.

The financial changes in the Club Licensing Criteria were discussed by none other than two eminent Chartered Accountants who highlighted the vital points covering the financial issues. The salary of the club employees as well as players, coach and other technical persons should not exceed 65% of the total allocated budget of the season. Moreover, no payable overdue would be entertained after 31st December of the year preceding the season to be licensed. A strict deadline of 31st March, 2015 will be maintained and clubs should adhere to the date to submit the required documents e.g. Audit Report, Director's Report, Balance Sheet, Cashflow, List of Employees, Detailed Outline of Salary, Infrastructure Development Plan and many more.

The following session was directed to discuss the alterations in the Indian Club Licensing Regulations for the season 2016-17, which the clubs need to start working on right now. Unlike the current team pyramid for each club, the club must overhaul the system and they should come up with four separate age-specific squads for U13, U15, U18 and U20 prodigies. Grassroots development program must be emphasised and clubs must bank on the youngsters to hone their skills. Sports integrity, laws of game, doping and all of these vulnerable issues would be taught to those prodigies so that they could be honed on a whole and be educated enough about these issues which could prove fatal for their professional career. Clubs are being encouraged to appoint one goalkeeper coach and one fitness coach for the senior team to improve their performances. In addition to these appointments, clubs must deploy one Administration Officer and Match Operations Officer to smoothen the matchday processes. Marketing aspect needs to be inculcated in the detailed budget plan and the club needs to spend not less than 5% of their total allocated budget.

Mr. Kushal Das and Mr. Sunando Dhar have shown their concerns about the upcoming state elections in West Bengal while organising matches in Kolkata might be a Herculean task and the respective clubs, McDowell Mohun Bagan and Kingfisher East Bengal are directed to follow up with AIFF as and when they get notified about the election schedule to confront the issue with aptness. Neither the AIFF nor the clubs are separate entities, but they are inseparable segments of a family which must work together to revive the Indian football, it is the sole goal which needs to be accomplished.

All India Football Federation will conduct Club Licensing Workshop on 7th July

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06.07.2015: AIFF PRESS RELEASE :All India Football Federation will conduct Club Licensing Workshop on 7th July, 2015 for all the Hero I-League clubs. CEOs, Directors along with Finance Officers from the respective clubs are invited by the I-League department for this particular workshop which is scheduled to take place tomorrow at AIFF Football House.

The first session of the day will be on Financial criteria of Indian Club Licensing Regulations which will go on till 1200 hrs. Salary cap for players, future financial report and many more minute details are going to be discussed in this session while club officials’ queries would be entertained too. Second session of the day will stress upon the various changes to the Club Licensing regulations for the season 2016-17. Honing a U15 as well as U18 team along with the current regime, implementing a full proof grassroots development plan are some of the underlined alterations which the clubs are meant to contrive on that particular season.

Youth League Plan for the season 2015-16 will be discussed vividly on the resumption of the house after lunch break. After that one and half hour long final session of the workshop will be conducted on the Marquee player criteria for the upcoming Hero I-League season. There will be slight modifications in the marquee player criteria which will serve the purpose in a better way.

Approximately twenty five honchos from the eleven Hero I-League clubs (including Aizawl FC who got promoted by virtue of winning Second Division League 2014-15) have committed to be present in the workshop.