Towards the end of the I-League season the future of the Indian Arrows looked bleak, but within a few weeks things have changed and the India Under-21 boys are set to shift base from Delhi/Gurgaon to Kolkata.
The Pailan Group will be looking after the Arrows from the new season onwards with the teams training base being at the Pailan World School's ground in Joka, which will provide two training pitches along with other facilities including a swimming pool, lodging and food. The contracts are set to be signed by the AIFF and the Pailan Group to make this partnership official soon.
The Indian Arrows were founded in the summer of 2010 as the AIFF XI and took over the place of disbanded Mahindra United in the I-League. The AIFF appointed Englishman Desmond Bulpin as the coach and he worked with the young team to ensure that they stay out of the relegation zone at the end of the season. The Arrows finished ninth after initial problems, but it was a credible finish for the youngsters as the team had no foreigners like all other clubs.
The Arrows were part of the program initiated by former national coach Bob Houghton and youth development director Colm Toal to prepare an Indian national team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The AIFF spend around Rs 70 Million (7 crores) for accommodation, salaries of the players and coaching staff, etc; but for the federation the financial burden was too high to sustain over a long term period.
Also under the AFC Club Licencing criteria the Indian Arrows need to be run as a team and not as part of the federations youth development, which forced the AIFF also to look at options on how to keep the plans for the future running. Besides the Pailan Group there was also said to be interest from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Bharat Forge and Kalyani Group.
Now the Pailan Group would enter into a contract with the AIFF under which the Pailan Group will look after the administrative side of things, while the AIFF continue to look after the technical and playing aspects of the team.