The All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) have decided to bar foreign players from all the State leagues all around the country. The decision was taken two weeks ago and since then, a lot has happened. But surprisingly, AIFF have made an exemption for the Kerala Super League which will commence in November.
The KSL teams will be allowed to sign foreign players as they have major backing from Scoreline Sports, who has won the rights to organize the 8-team event from the Kerala Football Association.
Shaji Prabhakaran, general secretary of the AIFF revealed that it was a financial deal signed prior to their decision and hence they did not want to jeopardise the deal. So Kerala remains the only state in the country to get such an exemption. “Yes, they have been given an exemption because of the prior commercial deal they have signed to start the Kerala Super League.
We don’t want them to rescind an agreement made earlier and we don’t want to jeopardise any commercial deal,” he told The Sportstar.
The team auctions for the KSL are scheduled to take place in May and the players’ auction will be held in July. Scoreline are trying their best to make this league big and fruitful and stakeholders can make profits after 2-3 years of existence.
“There is business in sport because if there is no sustainability, the sport will not move forward,” said Mathew Joseph, the CEO of the KSL and Scoreline Sports.
The organizers believe ticket sales, TV rights and sponsorships will drive in the money. They want to spread a sense of excitement regarding the league in every household. The organizers are also looking for sustainability and may have to cut down to a six-team league which will be better in terms of quality.
“We have to get the excitement onto the ground, we got to make sure that families come in and we have to create some entertainment for that,” said Feroz Meeran, the managing director of Scoreline.
“The quality has to be great. We will be good even if we have six (teams). We are very clear that we want the right franchises because the league has to be sustainable. We are looking at quality than quantity,” he concluded.
It remains to be seen how the other state league and their organizers react to this exemption that Kerala has received for their upcoming franchise-based tournament.