AIFF to retender I-League entry bids

NEW DELHI: The bids of three corporate-backed clubs for the upcoming I-League season were rejected on Friday by the All India Football Federation's bid evaluation committee, with the AIFF deciding to call a retender.

Representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), mandated with the task of scrutinising the bids, informed the bid evaluation committee none of the three bids presented by Gokulam FC (Malappuram, Kerala), Ozone Group (Bengaluru) and Crown Sports (Rajasthan) could meet the requirements of the RFP. 

Ten working days will be given to the bidders to submit fresh bids. The next meeting of the bid evaluation committee to evaluate the fresh bids will take place in the second week on September.

It bears recalling that last year as well the tender process for new corporate clubs had to be revisited as none of the applicant clubs could provide the Rs1 billion bank guarantee that the AIFF asked for. In the end, the federation relaxed the norms for bidding and two new clubs - Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC - entered the I-League.

It can be assumed that this time round the same "relaxed" norms applied so the question that begs an answer is this - did the three prospective clubs fail to meet even the requirements that Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC had cleared last season?

Interestingly, AIFF's commercial partners Football Sports Development Ltd, which owns and operates ISL, is reportedly against I-League including new clubs. FSDL had sent an email to AIFF advising against expanding I-League, reports.