However, during the executive committee meeting last week, Patel told Dempo chairman Shrinivas Dempo and Shillong Lajong general secretary Larsing Ming, who are AIFF vice-presidents, that if the clubs fail to comply to the criteria by January 31, the AIFF has the right to take 'strict action' against them.
Those stern words has done to trick as a majority of the clubs have already agreed to the criteria while the others are expected to fall in line before January 26. The AIFF has already decided to expel Air India and ONGC at the end of the season for failing to meet the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) licensing criteria.
The national club licensing requirements are quite similar to the ones set by the AFC (clubs should have their own stadium, be a private legal entity, focus youth development, etc). By agreeing to the AIFF's regulations, the clubs will soon have to comply with salary cap on the players. The federation had mooted the idea of having a salary cap in 2011 but weren't able to implement it. However, it is all set to be employed next season onwards. The purpose of it, a federation official said, is to ensure that the clubs do not spend their entire revenue on players and they invest in infrastructure and youth development as well.
"Right now, our clubs spend around 85 to 90 per cent of their revenues on salaries. In Japan, for example, the spending on players is 40 per cent. In India, we want to bring that number to around 65 per cent. We want to strike a balance between salaries and investing in development," I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said.