Panaji, Nov 22 (PTI) Sporting clube de Goa today confirmed they have formally withdrawn from I-League 2016-17 owing to “strong objections” to the proposed road map by AIFF and its marketing partners IMG-Reliance for Indian football. Former champions Dempo are also on the verge of pulling out of the league. “With regret Sporting Clube de Goa confirms their withdrawal from the I-League,” the club said in a statement. “Following strong objections to the road map for Indian football as proposed by AIFF and their marketing partners on 17th May, 2016, Sporting Clube de Goa along with fellow goan Club Salgoacar FC, after several rounds of deliberations, had taken the painful decision to withdraw from the forthcoming edition of the I League.” Another former champions Salgaocar had already withdrawn from the league and according to All India Football Federation, the club was rendered ineligible for the I-League after failing to fulfil the licensing process for the forthcoming season. AIFF and its marketing partners had in May unveiled a road map for Indian football. As part of their plans, AIFF had planned to elevate the Indian Super League to the top division in a three-tier format for domestic football, with the I-League and the second division relegated to second and third division status, respectively. After a few clubs raised concerns with the road map, the AIFF had formed a task force to look into the final implementation for the restructuring plans. Sporting said in the statement, “FIFA President Giovanni Infantino and AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa along with Secretary Dato John Windsor descended on Goa at the end of September to attend the Extra Ordinary Congress of AFC, and made all the right noises. “The task force consisting of high ranking officials of AFC, AIFF and IMG-Reliance also had its first meeting in Goa on 27th September, 2016. We are in the dark as to what transpired at that meeting, as sadly there was no representative of any I League club there, which itself tells its own story.” Calling this a tactical decision, Sporting said the club will continue with all other football activities like grassroots and youth development and also maintain a strong first team to compete in Goa as well as in all India football tournaments. On the pull out, the club further stated, “… In the meantime AIFF President Praful Patel kept on tomtoming that the road map for the future of Indian football is only a work in progress and that I League is the main league of the country. “All this time we at Sporting Clube clung to the hope that following the statements coming from the Presidents of FIFA, AFC and our own AIFF, and following our representation to FIFA and AFC, a fresh road map which did not envisage the forced demotion of the I League teams, would be announced well in time to allow us to field our team in the forthcoming I League. “With that hope, we even participated in the club licensing process and secured our national license. But we now realise that all our hopes have been belied.” PTI AH MCS BS BSadvertisement
Cesc Fabregas has refused to rule out a return to Arsenal at some point in the future, with his current contract at Chelsea running down.The Spanish midfielder began his professional career with the Gunners, with Arsene Wenger having lured him away from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy system.He took in over 300 appearances for Arsenal, including many as captain, before returning to his roots at Camp Nou in 2011. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Fabregas made his way back to England at Stamford Bridge in 2014, allowing him to collect two Premier League titles, but he could swap west for north London at some stage – either as a player or coach.“Of course, Arsenal will always be in my heart and I will never forget them so why not return. You never know,” the 31-year-old told Marca.Fabregas could find himself on the move next summer, as he heads towards free agency, with Serie A giants AC Milan having been heavily linked with an approach for his services.The World Cup winner believes he still has many years at the top left in him, adding: “I feel fine still.“In seven months my contract ends with Chelsea. It will be 16 seasons playing at the highest level, over 750 games, a lot of training, travelling.“I feel young and strong but maybe I can’t do 60 games a season. With my style I think I can keep playing for longer and obviously I want to keep playing for many years.”Once his playing career comes to a close, Fabregas admits that he is planning to move into management.Quizzed on where he will be in 15 years, he said: “No idea. I am not even thinking about that. You never know and I don’t like to plan ahead. Whenever you do, something else happens.“I am sure that I will study to be a coach and hopefully in 15 years I will be coaching a top club.”In the present, Fabregas will be hoping to play some part in Chelsea’s latest Premier League outing against Burnley.He will start that game on the bench, with Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho having nailed down the midfield berths in Maurizio Sarri’s side.