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Sunday, November 26, 2000

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AIFF-IPFA stalemate can affect players' future

By S. R. Suryanarayan

CHENNAI, NOV 25: To commend the adamant stand or pity the foolhardiness, is the question. But the fact remains that the stalemate reflected in the stand-off between the AIFF and the newly formed IPFA, could have grave implications on the players' future. The point simply put is where do the players stand if things remain unresolved?

While it is sometimes openly said that the players generally prefer to give their all for their clubs rather than for the country, no player would still wish to find his name black-listed and thereby foreclose his career opportunities.

The price to pay for indiscretion can be very heavy. Being a member of any leading club has its plus points and rewards, but in the present circumstances a player has a very crucial decision to take about his own future. Pity the players who have to find reason in this confusion. It is all fine for the newly formed body to arrange a league of its own, if it comes to that and get the benefit of live telecast on a private channel but without official sanction where will it stand?

And here the real picture could be different if the AIFF on its part goes ahead to conduct the NFL. This could mean replacing those clubs under the IPFA banner with the next-in- standing units from the premier league's second division.

What is a loss for one could be a god-send opportunity for another. For instance, Indian Bank Chennai, a team that lost out by a whisker two years ago amid a speck of controversy. The team would welcome any chance of being in the premier league again with both hands, as it were.

As D. V. Sundar, Sports Secretary of the Bank, who did not waste time in shooting a quick letter of support to the AIFF President Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, put it, ``chances like this cannot be set aside. Besides, our team has had a good record in the NFL and there is no reason why we should not perform again given a chance.''

Realistically, however, no matter what the outcome of the tussle between IPFA and AIFF, the onus should be on the latter to ensure that players do not suffer for something they are not responsible for. For, a club's decision is fashioned by the management decision and not by the players.

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