New Delhi: The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) plan to promote the I-League has taken a severe blow with a seasoned and a fledgling club from Pune facing the dusk.It is reliably learnt that the Ashok Piramal Group owned Red Lizards, who came into existence back in 2007 are set to discontinue their first team operations. The club was created to give an impetus to the sport of football in the city of Pune and kickstart a team that could compete on a national level professionally.
They are however, expected to continue their academy set-up which houses youngsters of three age groups – Under-19, Under-17 and Under-15.According to sources, it is believed that the ownership were disillusioned with the state of Indian football. Despite having fulfilled the club licensing criterion and earning the reputation of one of the most professionally managed teams in the country, the management decided to pull plug on first team investment. It must be noted that Pune FC were also one of the first teams to aptly name the club after the city in the I-League era.
With next to zero revenue streams for clubs, lack of broadcasting rights and no marketing plan, it is believed that Pune FC’s owners recognized a lack of vision or a roadmap for Indian football as a whole, which led them to believe that investing further in top flight wouldn’t make sense.The club remained unavailable for comment on the above developments.