Real Kashmir FC coach David Robertson on Thursday rued the lack of coverage after the revised I-League telecast schedule, saying fans in India would be deprived of high-intensity football.
I-League clubs are up in arms after the tournament’s official broadcaster Star Sports recently announced that it will cut the television coverage to just 31 of the 61 matches remaining in the season.
While former champions Mohun Bagan are the only side who could see all of their matches shown on television, defending champions Minerva Punjab FC were the worst-hit, and newcomers Real Kashmir FC will be partially affected.
The decision has invited widespread criticism and the Scottish coach of Real Kashmir said: “The football fans in India will be deprived of games. I am here for two years now and I think that is a special and an exciting league.”
The Scot also said even as a 12-year-old boy in Scotland he knew about Mohun Bagan and East Bengal as he termed himself lucky to face the two clubs in the I-League.
“East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the two biggest clubs of India. As a 12-year-old boy in Scotland, I had heard about these two teams,” he said.
“They have the biggest budgets. I’ve been with big clubs in Scotland too, and playing with big clubs brings a lot of pressure.”
Debutants Kashmir have exceeded expectations this season, staying second after nine games and a point behind leaders Chennai City FC.
Speaking about their performance so far, he said: “It’s been a good story for the club. To be where we are at the moment is really fantastic. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the team. We are enjoying every bit of it.”
“Playing in I-League puts Kashmir in the footballing map in India. Till now people only knew about Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Ishfaq Ahmed from Kashmir. Last year we won the second division with five Kashmiri players in our starting lineup. That shows how talented the local players are,” he added.