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‘Calendar is being adjusted to IPL, this needs to stop’: Igor Stimac says ‘football shouldn’t suffer because of cricket’

After an intense press conference after India’s 4-0 win over Hong Kong, which saw them qualify for the AFC Asian Cup, coach Igor Stimac opened up on other issues, which he feels should be dealt with efficiency for the development of Indian football. 

Under Stimac, the Blue Tigers produced three wins in a trot, defeating Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong as India qualified for the continental event for the first time in successive editions. 

Emphasizing on the scheduling of domestic season, Stimac in a report on Indian Express was quoted as saying: “Things need to be sorted out about the football calendar, which is still being adjusted with regards to IPL and broadcasting… This needs to stop if we want to make football great in India. Football calendar should not depend on other things.”

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Both ISL and IPL are broadcast on the same platform, which is with Star as of now.    

When informed about the IPL bidding rights for the next five years, which touched over $6 billion, Stimac said: “India is blessed to have a sport as popular as cricket but shouldn’t be afraid to have another sport becoming as popular. And to do so, they need to open the door to football. Otherwise, it will not happen. Football shouldn’t suffer because of cricket.”

Something Stimac has been trying to convey from his first press conference back in May 2019 and till date is better communication between the ISL clubs in terms of releasing players for national camps. He also rooted for longer national camps. 

“ISL will not make India fall in love with Indian football. Only the national team will do that,” the Croatian added.

The Indian team along with the support staff had assembled in Bellary on April 23 and trained till May 8. The contingent had then moved to Calcutta, the hosts of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, to continue with the camp till the qualifiers and the results are quite evident.

Only players from Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan joined the camp after their respective club commitments.


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