It's a final outcome that Indian football fans have been waiting to hear now for weeks, even months. But till date no solution has been found in the impasse between the AIFF and the Zee Group about ending their relationship in regard to the national federations TV and marketing rights, while a potential new partner in IMG-Reliance is waiting in the wings to take over.
After no real updates over the last four/five weeks reports have now surfaced that the Zee Group is not willing to walk away silently and is asking for compensation to terminate their 10 year contract with the AIFF. And that compensation is said to be in the region of a whopping Rs. 700 Million (Rs. 70 crores).
An unnamed high ranking AIFF official speaking on condition of anonymity told PTI, "Yes, it (Zee) has asked for Rs 70 crore as compensation from the AIFF but, as far as the deal with IMG is concerned, it is still in the negotiation stage and nothing has been finalised yet. The AIFF is reviewing IMG's proposal but nothing is official as yet."
It's interesting to see where things stand now as the 10 year deal between the AIFF and the Zee Group had a review clause after finishing the first five years of the contract. This has come and both sides have realised that as things are being run and organised jointly it has no real value to any side.
The criticism from the AIFF against the Zee Group has been on three main points. First the Group has not been paying the federation their installments of the Rs 2,73 Billion (Rs 273 crore) properly over the last couple of years due to which the AIFF has faced financial problems. Then there has been the issue of coverage and reach of Zee Sports (now Ten Action) with the coverage level going down dramatically over the years and the channel not easy to catch on cable or DTH platforms. And then there is the issue of the Zee Group not being able to market AIFF properties properly, the AIFF president recently cited the example of the Santosh Trophy for which the Zee Group couldn't find a sponsor.
If the AIFF and IMG-Reliance can work out a formula to pay off the Zee Group and then start a fresh venture to market and show Indian football will have to be seen. In football we would say a figure for the transfer fee is on the market and the two sides now have to agree on a fee which both sides can live with or maybe someone else comes late into the bidding game.