In the face of mounting criticism on the proposed long-term commercial rights agreement with Meerans Sports LLP and Scoreline Sports Pvt. Ltd., the Kerala Football Association (KFA) has decided to hold an online meeting with general body members and district football association officials.
The KFA has sent the draft of the contract to all DFA presidents and secretaries and its GB members seeking proposals or changes within a week. The KFA will hold separate meetings with each of the 14 affiliated DFAs before finalising the contract.
In April the KFA invited proposals from companies to acquire the commercial rights of its State teams, leagues and competitions for 12 years.
An expert committee examined the bids submitted by Eastea Chai Pvt. Ltd. and Consortium of Meerans Sports LLP and Scoreline Sports Pvt. Ltd. and recommended that the consortium be given the commercial rights.
As per the contract, the consortium will pay KFA ₹85 lakh for the first five years and ₹90 lakh from the sixth to 10th year and ₹95 lakh for the last two years as annual guaranteed payment. The consortium will also share 10 percent of profits if any with KFA during the 12 years. The contract may be extended through negotiations at the end of the 11th year.
The consortium will have the right to review the performance after three years and withdraw from the contract giving three months notice and honouring the pending payment for the season.
On the other hand, KFA, with approval from its AGB, may terminate the contract with a six-month notice period but will have to repay the entire fees received till then.
The consortium will also have the right to conduct AIFF and AFC coaching courses.
The consortium may grant affiliation to new clubs and accord permission to DFAs to conduct new tournaments.
The consortium will also run the day to day affairs of disaffiliated DFAs. The consortium will also be eligible to field a team in all KFA and AIFF-recoganised tournaments.
The consortium may start, within five years, and totally manage a new professional league that would be the top-tier league in the State.
The KFA will provide workspace and obtain necessary clearances from the AIFF for the consortium to function.
However, a majority of KFA members and DFAs have opposed the draft proposals saying KFA was underselling itself and some terms of contract were too one-sided. They also allege that there was no transparency in the bidding process. They allege that both companies which submitted the bid proposals had the same set of promoters.
They also accuse KFA secretary Anilkumar of conflict of interest as a close relative of his is associated with Scoreline Sports. There is also talk of legal action against KFA. Some of those opposed to the contract are also expected to seek the State Government’s intervention in the matter.