Five-time record Indian champions Dempo have become the latest I-League club to break the deadlock with IMG-Reliance as they are set to loan four former Arrows players from AIFF’s commercial and marketing partners.
Mohammedan Sporting and Mohun Bagan have already signed and fielded IMG-R contracted players in the I-League while United SC are set to release eight of their players for next year’s Indian Super League.
Now Dempo have become the first non-Kolkata club to successfully negotiate with IMG-R. Sportskeeda can reveal that Alywn George, Holicharan Narzary, Narayan Das and Pronay Halder are all set to join the Goan giants for two months after which they will be available for the IPL-style football tournament.
Although the clubs publicly opposed the newly-proposed tournament under the banner of IPFCA (I-League Professional Football Clubs Association), most I-League clubs individually were ready to negotiate with IMG-R but not willing to be the first team to break the verbal agreement.
But due to their poor start in the Airtel I-League, Mohammedan Sporting decided to break the deadlock and loan IMG-R players. That opened the door for Mohun Bagan and Dempo to also loan the players that they wanted and more clubs could do the same if they get a chance to improve their squad.
Dempo coach Arthur Papas had actually wanted to sign those four and few more former Arrows players as he had worked with them during his stint with the now defunct AIFF’s developmental side and the India U-22s.
But the AIFF didn’t release any of the Arrows players as the plan was to continue the club for another year. However once Arrrows got disbanded, IMG-R signed the entire squad and all the players will be appearing in the Indian Super League after completing their loan spells in the I-League.
It now remains to be seen which other I-League club successfully completes a deal with IMG-R either by loaning players or releasing some of their own for the new tournament.
Interestingly Dempo, Salgaocar, JSW,who own Bengaluru FC and the Piramal Group, who won Pune FC, are among the potential bidders of the Indian Super League franchises.
Dempo chairman Shrinivas Dempo was also quoted saying,”From what I have been reading in the papers, I think it’s an interesting opportunity. The IMG-R tournament, if at all we decide to bid, will be a commercial venture.”