Gianni Infantino describes India as a footballing giant

According to the Press Trust of India (h/t ESPN), FIFA president Gianni Infantino has labelled India as a “passionate giant” of the sport, and has requested the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to ensure that there is a steady growth of football in the country.

Speaking at his first visit to India since being elected president, Infantino said that he was impressed with the work done by the AIFF pertaining to nurturing young and upcoming talents at the grassroots level.

“India has always been mentioned as the ‘Sleeping Giant’. But from what I have seen here I am sure that India is now the passionate giant of football.

“India are the world champions of passion. The work done by AIFF is impressive and it is not a coincidence that football is developing in India and the passion is growing year after year. Results won’t be immediate but it will follow in coming years,” he said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at an event to unveil the logo for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in Panjim on September 27, 2016. Infantino, who was in Goa to attend the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Extraordinary Congress, also unveiled the logo for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. / AFP / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at an event to unveil the logo for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in Panjim on September 27, 2016. Infantino, who was in Goa to attend the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Extraordinary Congress, also unveiled the logo for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

He then went on to speak about the Mission Eleven project and heaped tremendous praise on the dedication shown by the fans and budding footballers.

“India is a passionate giant because I have been seeing the graph of development. The Mission Eleven Million which the AIFF is working on to indulge the youth is commendable.

“The passion of the people, of the fans, of the players, of the youth and the people associated with football is heart-warming and makes the future bright,” added Infantino

Infantino added that his aim was to eventually make football the number one sport in the country.

“Football is already one of the top sports of India and it is the number one sport for the Indian youth. We aim to make it the number one sport in India for everybody. FIFA together with AIFF has to develop football in India and we need to make sure that there is a steady growth.”

AIFF approves new rules for Indian Super League

President of the All India Football Federation Praful Patel (L), former national team captain Baichung Bhutia (2L), the President of the Asian Football Confederation Shaikh Salman (C), Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri (2R) and and former national team captain Chunni Goswami take part in the launch of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in New Delhi on November 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

President of the All India Football Federation Praful Patel (L), former national team captain Baichung Bhutia (2L), the President of the Asian Football Confederation Shaikh Salman (C), Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri (2R) and and former national team captain Chunni Goswami take part in the launch of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in New Delhi. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the AIFF’s Executive Committee approved new rules for the ISL which will take effect from the coming season that commences on October 1st.

According to the new rules, the payments made by franchises towards marquee players will be outside the salary cap of Rs 17.5 crore. This means that the teams can now spend any amount on marquee players, depending on their resources. The salary cap, too, has been reduced from last term’s Rs 21 crore.

The trend of marquee player also acting as coach will also be discontinued this year. The rules state that if a marquee player is also appointed as head coach, then the franchise will have to sign another marquee player.

The committee also congratulated reigning I-League champions Bengaluru FC for their performance in the ongoing AFC Cup and wished them luck for the semi-finals tie against Malaysian outfit Johor Darul Tazim.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar briefed the Committee about league updates which kicks-off on the 7th of January 2017. Keeping in mind the good performances of Aizawl FC in the last edition, the committee unanimously decided to give them the green signal to play in the league.