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AIFF must back new fan-based clubs: Bhutia

April 30, 2010 23:07 IST

Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday said the shutting down of Mahindra United should serve as a wake-up call for All India Football Federation who need to encourage fan-based clubs.

Describing the sudden development as "very unfortunate", the talismanic Indian forward said, "It has given a wake-up call to AIFF to look for and encourage new teams. We need to have more fan-based teams like Pune FC. We need to encourage teams like that."

He, however, was very surprised at Mahindra United's decision to disband the club at the end of current I-League season with focus of the parent company shifting towards developing talent at school level.

"Whatever happened is very unfortunate. But from the corporate sector's point of view, Mahindra United are not the first club to shut down. It's bound to happen when you have corporate clubs."

"A good club shutting down is obviously not a good thing for anyone. Be it a senior footballer or a promising youngster. It's time for the parent body to look into new ideas. It's a learning process and they need to look into ways of bringing in new teams," he added.

Bhutia, also the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) president, said, "From players point of view, after a season everybody's contract is over and everybody starts looking for a new club. So it's not a big loss for them."

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