Observing that the business tycoons were facing a financial crunch in running their football clubs and competing at the national level, Opposition MLAs including MLAs of the ruling government on Tuesday demanded that the government provide financial aid to all professional football clubs in Goa.
“Many clubs have opted out of I-League due to lack of financial support. The government should enact a pattern by which grant-in-aid is given to the different top performing clubs of Goa,” said Navelim MLA Luizinho Faleiro, on the floor of the House, while speaking during the discussion on demands which included the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs.
Luizinho praised Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao for running the Goa’s lone football club, Churchill Brothers FC, in the I-League.
Margao MLA Digambar Kamat urged Sports Minister, Manohar Azgaonkar to ensure that the necessary assistance including financial assistance is provided to clubs in Goa through the budget allotted to Goa Football Development Council (GFDC).
“The Sports Minister in consultation with the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar should formulate a scheme through which annual financial aid can be given to the football clubs,” opined Velim MLA Filip Neri Rodrigues. He said that the government should provide football grounds in every village panchayat.
Deputy Speaker and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo drew the attention of the House to how young emerging talented players were missing out on becoming a professional football player due to lack of opportunities.
“The football clubs are on the verge of being extinct, our local youth are restricted to playing in the tournaments within the state and there are no future prospects for them at the moment. It is high time that we invest in the local Goans and continue to work towards the dream of seeing them representing the country,” he said.
Churchill Alemao informed the member of the House that in past the government has given around Rs 3 crores in the form of financial support to his club and assured that even if he doesn’t receive any help from the government he will continue to run his club for the love of football and for the Goa’s pride.
“Churchill Brothers is the only club which pays highest to the players when compared to other football clubs,” he claimed.
Alemao urged the Sports Minister to waive off the fees levied on hiring the grounds by the football clubs for practice and said that the government should instead allot grounds to the top teams free of cost.