Tuesday, October 24, 2006

India awaits AFC decision on live U-20 broadcasts

All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is still not sure whether the matches of the forthcoming AFC U-20 Youth football championship, to be held in Kolkata and Bangalore, will be beamed live on TV. The Union Information and Broadcasting minister said he would get to know whether they will be televised only after a telephone discussion with the top brass of Asian Football Confederation. "The AFC has the rights of beaming these matches as it is an AFC championship," he said.

The AIFF’s marketing agent Zee Sports wants to buy the rights from AFC so they can broadcast the matches. “We will televise some matches of the AFC Youth championship from both Kolkata and Bangalore. But, we have a busy schedule over the next few weeks. So, it is difficult to say how many matches we will be able to beam,” a senior official of the company told Express India.

Describing India’s chances in the tournament, the AIFF president said "We should be satisfied if the boys can reach the quarter-final stage.” He also hinted that this championship will probably be the last assignment for India’s Uzbek coach Islam Akhmedov who has been training the junior national side for the last five years.

Asked about AIFF’s plans of sourcing footballers of Indian origin, he admitted it is not easy. "It requires amendment of Indian citizenship rights, which cannot be changed only for football. So, the country’s entire sports fraternity including the AIFF is working on the issue so that the government starts thinking about the amendment,” he said.

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