Speaking on the success of the workshop, Dhar said: “It is great to see nine out of 11 clubs having the AFC license today. Licensing has definitely got the clubs together.
“Stronger the I-League clubs become, the stronger AIFF becomes. The stronger you (the Clubs) become, the league becomes stronger.” “Remember, you have to represent India in Asia.”
Mr. Windsor John, Deputy General Secretary, AFC, also Head of Competitions, asserted the importance of the Club Licensing, and mentioned AFC’s commitment to help improve football in India. “First of all, I congratulate I-League for conducting this workshop,” Mr. John said.
“Club Licensing is a very important feature in the AFC Champions League assignment. The Clubs need to understand that this is not a policing license, but a license to develop.
“Hence, I ask all the clubs to embrace it. India has got tremendous potential. Small steps, a long-term plan, and the right people, can take it a long way.”
Mr. Mahajan Nair, Head of Club Licensing, AFC highlighted club development with special significance on the AFC development program – the Kick Off project. Furthermore, Mr. Javed Siraj, newly appointed Integrity Officer of the AIFF, stressed on match integrity highlighting on the menace of match fixing and betting.
The event was also used to hand over the AFC Certificates to the nine I-League Clubs (except new entrants Royal Wahingdoh FC and the Kalyani Group-owned team) who successfully fulfilled the Indian Club Licensing criteria for the 2014/15 season.
“Club Licensing is a very good initiative for India. It has done wonders for the game”, said R.A.J Gomes, General Secretary, Salgaocar FC.
Mr. John also conducted an interactive session on match day operations and the role of LGC’s (Local General Coordinators) for matches, where he explained the do’s and don’ts for match days and the responsibilities of the Clubs and the support staff. AFC Head of Marketing Operations, Mr. Yong-Chul Yun complemented it by speaking on match day promotions.
Defending I-League champions Bengaluru FC were represented by Mr. Dhruv Nagarkatti, who also spoke on match day operations and other promotional activities, via a vivid audio-visual presentation.
McDowell Mohun Bagan, who recorded the highest supporters attendance count for an I-League club last season, appointed Mr. Debashish Dutta, to speak on the attendance of I-League clubs.
Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong FC representatives Mr. Habamutlang Lyngdoh and Mr. Nikhil Sharma spoke about the marketing and promotion of I-League Clubs. They gave an overview of their Club’s brand philosophy and the football scenario in the North-East. “We want to make sure that talent coming from North-East plays for Shillong Lajong FC,” said Nikhil.
A brief history of the Club, the grassroots development programs, the community building initiatives, the interactions with fans, and other details were touched upon. Dhar thanked all the AFC delegates, and also informed that there are plans for a workshop on marketing, to be conducted by FIFA, at the end of this year.
“We thank all the AFC officials, as well as all the Clubs, so much for coming here today. We hope to organise these workshops every year. “AIFF next plans to organise a FIFA workshop in November-December 2014 on marketing.”
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS:
SALGAOCAR FC: R.A.J. Gomes, Adlear D’Cruz, Rahul Rodrigues, Nicholas Falcao
PUNE FC: Dr. B. Ashok Kumar
MUMBAI FC: Atul Badgamia, Prashant Godbole
MOHUN BAGAN: Prince Rufus, Debashish Dutta
ROYAL WAHINGDOH: Dominic Sutnga, Anoop Abraham, Rajas Joshi, Sanjib Das
EAST BENGAL: Arunava Bhattacharya
SPORTING GOA: Victor Fernandes, Edward Noronha
BENGALURU FC: Dhruv Nagarkatti, Premankur Barua
SHILLONG LAJONG: Nikhil Sharma, Habamutlang Lyngdoh
DEMPO SC: Abhijit Patil
KALYANI GROUP: R Ramakrishnan