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IFA Shield postponed to next year

December 30, 2008 22:27 IST

Bowing to pressure from clubs already tired after a gruelling season, the Indian Football Association on Tuesday postponed the IFA Shield till next year.

"We don't want IFA Shield to be organised hurriedly. We don't want to hold IFA Shield if it loses importance. Under the circumstances, we're thinking about holding the Shield in July-August next year. I can't say the exact time of the tournament till the governing body okays it but I think if it will be held in July-August, that would be a good time," IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly said after the decision was taken at the sub-committee meeting today.

Another reason for the postponement, said Ganguly, is the tournament broadcaster ESPN's demand for a foreign team for the Shield.

"The broadcaster wanted to have a foreign team. So we will try to invite a foreign team when the tournament is rescheduled."

In the last edition, South African club Santos FC competed and finished second behind champions Mahindra United.

Officials of the I-League teams who met the IFA secretary soon after the sub-committee meeting, expressed satisfaction.

The officials of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting and United SC said they were happy with the postponement as it would allow the players to recover in time for the second phase of the I-League.

One of the oldest tournaments in the world, the 114th edition of the IFA Shield was scheduled to be held from January 4-14.

However with Mohun Bagan opting out of the tournament citing fatigue, the IFA was forced to reconsider its decision.

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