Monday, November 29, 1999

National footballers force AIFF to one-on-one meet

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New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The national footballers are unhappy with the payment structure of the central contract system and have forced the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to have one-on-one meetings to negotiate their deal that will some into effect from next month.The AIFF had planned to give central contracts to the 30-listed footballers from next month till the Asian Cup in January. The federation proposed that players, barring few, would be given 15 percent hike for the eight-month contract, but footballers feel that the hike is too less as the market value of some of the players has gone up by three to four folds.In fact the top brass of the AIFF also stands divided over the issue and some feel that the federation is trying to arm twist the players to sign a lesser deal.A top official in the AIFF told IANS: 'The federation is now in a spot of bother and the footballers have forced us for a one-on-one meetings. This was on the cards. JCT striker Baljit Sahni now plays for a modest salary but he has got a great offer from a Kolkata club, which is three to four times his present offer this season. So why should he accept a contract with a mere 15 per cent hike?'Players cannot negotiate with a club before the end of the I-League and the AIFF is using this rule to close the deals before the end of the league.A top player, on condition of anonymity told IANS: 'The AIFF is trying to take advantage of this rule and seal the deal before the start of the transfer season. They are cheating us.'Another player, who was a part of the AFC Challenge winning squad, said: 'This is simply arm twisting. Are we paying a price for taking India to the Asian Cup finals after 25 years? Show me one federation that treats its footballers this way. The players are not going to accept a hike of 15 percent.'

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