National football coach Bob Houghton on Thursday virtually ruled out any IPL-style football event in India, saying such a concept is not possible in the country because of the exorbitant money involved in buying an international player and also it was against FIFA guidelines.
"It could be a very inventive idea but that is not possible in India given the exorbitant amount of money it would involve. You won't get top international players for the tournament. A Cristiano Ronaldo will not come for a short period here to play an IPL-style tournament," said Houghton at his first media interaction of the year on the eve of national team's departure for Dubai for a 20-day training camp.
"Moreover, FIFA will not allow a player playing in three sides (national team, their present club and the IPL-style club). So such a tournament is not possible," the Englishman said.
Talking about the training tour, Houghton said, "On February 20, we will play against Al Shahab. The opponent for the second game on February 23 is yet to be finalised," he said.
The Englishman said he will increase the squad to 30 players by the middle of this year and the selected footballers will have a training tour of Portugal in July-August.
"From now onwards, the national team players will be exclusively training for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and they will not participate in any domestic tournament. After returning from Dubai, I will go to Lisbon and make advance arrangements for the camp there," Houghton said.
"In September the players will be based in India but we have to decide at which ground we will train.
"The country has only one FIFA recognised stadium in Chennai but that stadium is not exclusively meant for football," he said.
Houghton said India will play two 2014 World qualifiers on October 8 and 12 but if his wards fail to make it to the the second round of the qualifiers, they will return to Europe for training.
"A month before the AFC Asian Cup, the players will acclimatise with the conditions by having a training camp in one of the gulf countries which could be Bahrain, Kuwait or Qatar," he said.