AIFF drops plans for football academy in Goa, Haryana frontrunner

March 18th, 2009 - 8:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Bharti Enterprises Wednesday decided to drop plans to build a Rs.1 billion state of the art academy at Cuncolim in Goa due to delay in acquiring the land for the project.
Last month AIFF’s acting president and central minister Praful Patel asked Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to broker peace between warring local football leaders within eight days, failing which the proposed football academy would be shifted to Haryana.

And nearly a month after being set a deadline, the Goa government failed to transfer the 126,000 square metres of the land to the AIFF.

In a joint statement both the AIFF and Bharti said: “AIFF and Bharti Enterprises have dropped the proposal to set up Bharti-AIFF Football Academy at Cuncolim, Goa. In a letter to Joaquim Alemao, urban development minister and president of Goa Football Association (GFA), we have informed our decision to drop the academy from Goa, due to the long delay in finalising the transfer of land to the AIFF.”

The academy is now likely to be shifted to Haryana.

“We will have no other option but to shift the academy to Haryana. Ideally we would not like to shift, but we are under immense pressure to take a decision,” Patel said last month.

Haryana Football Association (HFA) secretary Sunil Bharadwaj told IANS that the state was in the fray to have the academy.

“We were always interested to have the academy in the state. Now since the AIFF has decided to drop the academy from Goa, we will try our best to see that the academy comes to Haryana,” said Bharadwaj.

The project was to start in last March but ran into rough weather with two powerful Goan politicians locking horns. Local sentiments have also been aroused to block the academy from coming up at Cuncolim.

The tussle between Alemao and housing minister Mickky Pacheco turned into a war of words and inordinate delay in the clearance. Pacheco claimed that the land belonged to his department and accused Alemao of illegally transferring the land for the academy.

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