The chief of India’s football league is resolute it will find a broadcast partner for the I-League 2011-2012 after this season came to a close last week without a single match being televised.
The lack of on-screen football this year has been blamed by officials on a lack of time available to find a new partner, after the I-League rights were sold to IMG Reliance following the sudden termination of the ten year broadcast and marketing rights deal between the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Zee Sports in October 2010.
That partnership was dissolved four years short of its expiry date and led to blank screens for India’s football fans for the recent I-League season, which started in December 2010 and was won by Salgaocar.
Sunando Dhar, the I-League CEO, has assured football supporters that this will not be the case in the 2011-12 season as the AIFF is committed to finding a solution.
“Finding a national broadcast partner for the I-League is definitely priority number one for us,” Sunando Dhar, chief executive officer, I-League told Goal.com India. “[We and] IMG-Reliance…are confident of finding a partner soon.”
He explained that IMG Reliance is also more knowledgeable about Indian football six months into their agreement, and that this experience will aid the planning of forthcoming broadcasts.
“We have started discussions with IMG-Reliance and are trying to finalize a plan of action soon. Of course, it must have long as well as short term goals which shall include infrastructure, publicity of the I-League and so on,” said Mr Dhar. “There has to be a marriage between the two.”