Stephen Constantine
Stephen Constantine is determined to bring about changes in Indian footballAIFF Media

Stephen Constantine is determined to go out of his way and challenge even the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as he looks at bringing some much-needed structure into Indian football.

The no-nonsense British coach has insisted on having a single league system and an organised calendar since his arrival in India as the men's national football team head coach.

And the ex-Rwanda tactician has urged his bosses – the AIFF – to look into making the present football calendar similar to that of the FIFA calendar, so that the national team gets to play regular international matches, without clashing with the club football scene.

"Is it that difficult to sync your calendar? It's not when you've the development of the game [in mind]. It is when you're thinking about TV ratings, maybe. It is when you're thinking about other things," the 52-year-old was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

Constantine has heavily criticised the fact that the governing body of football in India are being dictated by the television broadcasters as to when they are willing to telecast games.

Logistical and technical issues as well as lack of negotiations between the AIFF and the broadcasters have been some of the causes behind the Indian football calendar suffering, according to the British coach.

"I hope all the powers that be, whoever they are, sit around a table and say what do we want for Indian football? It's not possible that a TV station can tell us when we can start our season. But that seems to be one of the problems," he added.

In recent seasons none of the popular Indian sports channels have been seemingly willing to broadcast the Indian football matches, especially those of the primary league – the I-League- on weekend primetime hours.

This stance by the broadcasters forces the AIFF to shift the matches to the afternoon slot, and the players have to sweat it out under uncomfortable weather condition, which also takes a toll on the quality of the games as a whole.

The cramped schedule of the Indian Super League is also another factor, where the players get little or no rest during the competition.

These are believed to be the reasons why the AIFF have been unable to find opponents on FIFA international friendly dates. And for the betterment of the national football team, Constantine has urged the AIFF to restructure the present calendar so that the national team can at least play matches on the days sanctioned by the world football governing body.

India's next international match is a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Iran on 8 September. They played out a goalless draw against Nepal in an international friendly on 31 August in Pune.

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