AIFF to act tough against clubs found guilty of match-fixing: Kalyan Chaubey | XtraTime

Anilava Chatterjee, Qatar: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will impose severe sanctions on all clubs found guilty of match-fixing, according to Kalyan Chaubey. AIFF President along with Secretary Shaji Prabhakaran is currently in Qatar for FIFA World Cup 2022. In an exclusive chat with Xtra Time, Kalyan Chaubey touched on several topics related to Indian football. Here are the excerpts:

The AIFF recently received a letter from the CBI regarding the involvement of several I League clubs in match fixing. Your thoughts?

Kalyan Chaubey: As a former footballer, I would only say that match-fixing is a serious crime. All India Football Federation always has zero tolerance and there will be no concessions. All clubs will be sent together with their state associations. I am told about the presence of speakers, but nothing concrete. The CBI has also asked us for a report. I am discussing this issue with the Secretary General. All I can say is that if any club is found guilty of cheating, they will face serious sanctions.

You participated in a program at the High Commission. How was the meeting with Qatar-based corporations?

Kalyan Chaubey: Several non-resident Indians associated with the corporate sector are located here. I was pleased to know that several of them have been related to infrastructure development for the FIFA World Cup in the past few years. I met with them and asked if they would be willing to share their experience to improve our infrastructure.

How has your experience of witnessing matches here at Qatar 2022 been so far?

Kalyan Chaubey: Qatar has demonstrated world engineering standards at the highest level as we can see matches being played in air conditioning units. Did we ever imagine that football matches will be played under temperature control and Qatar has made it possible. Even if the temperature outside is 48 degrees Celsius, all eight stadiums in the city are about 24 degrees cooler. This was possible due to scientific and technological brilliance. Speaking of architectural brilliance, Qatar has done a spectacular job. I was impressed when I looked at the architecture at Lusail Stadium. Qatar has proven to the world how money is properly channeled to develop a country’s infrastructure.

Have you met any past legends of the game and what kind of discussions did you have with them?

Kalyan Chaubey: I was lucky enough to meet some like Iker Cassius, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Materazzi, Lothar Mathews, Ronaldo (Sr), Mascherano. David Beckham was also here. FIFA legends have a huge role in the development of the game around the world and they are doing a fantastic job.

You met with China’s sports minister. What was the discussion about?

Kalyan Chaubey: I have been associated with Indian football for over 25 years. Like every Indian football fan, I want to see our country prosper. AIFF’s relations with FIFA and AFC are very good. I am constantly in talks with them about improving the infrastructure, academy, coaches, having the right strategy to develop Indian football. Today I met with the Minister of Sports of China. He was the vice-president of the Olympic Committee. As you know, China is 70th in the world. We discussed how both nations can develop sports. He invited me to go to a tournament in China next September. I also met with the president of the South Korean Football Federation. I tried to gather information about how they had a successful World Cup in 2002.

AIFF has decided to promote and relegate ISL and I leagues from next season. What are your thoughts as president?

Kalyan Chaubey: It will increase competitiveness in the I-league. Earlier, although the I League clubs performed well, there was no incentive. All stakeholders, including FSDL, have taken a unanimous decision for the development of football in the country. We are also discussing how we can run U-21 leagues, institutional leagues. We intend to start university championships. There are wide opportunities for the development of football in our country.

AIFF will soon see the play-offs of the Santosh Trophy in the middle eastern country with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. Have you had similar discussions with any national football associations here?

Kalyan Chaubey: Yes, four matches (two semi-finals, third place play-off and final) of the Santosh Trophy will be played in Jeddah in February. I am sure that this will be a great boost for our players. I had discussions about FIFA having more friendlies with teams higher than us. We also plan to increase tournaments across three countries. Yesterday, I attended the FIFA summit, which was attended by the presidents of 211 football associations of the world. I had talks with them. This is a long process, because you cannot expect results overnight. We need to establish good relations with countries that play high-ranked football. Why would a higher ranked soccer nation tie with a nation ranked 106th in the FIFA rankings?

AIFF has decided to promote and relegate ISL and I leagues from next season. What are your thoughts as president?

Kalyan Chaubey: It will increase competitiveness in the I-league. Earlier, although the I League clubs performed well, there was no incentive. All stakeholders, including FSDL, have taken a unanimous decision for the development of football in the country. We are also discussing how we can run U-21 leagues, institutional leagues. We intend to start university championships. There are wide opportunities for the development of football in our country.