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Need club's help to realise 'Goal 2011' project: Houghton
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NEW DELHI: India's chief football coach Bob Houghton on Friday said the I-League clubs should come forward and help the All India Football Federation (AIFF) achieve its grand plan of giving central contracts to 25 players, who will play exclusively for the national team till the 2011 Asia Cup in Doha.

The project, termed 'Goal 2011', was mooted by Englishman Houghton and the AIFF is still weighing its pros and cons.

"There are a lot of issues. We need help of the I-League clubs to realise the project," Houghton said.

According to the project, the 25 players selected won't be contracted with any club and their present salaries will be matched by the AIFF. The project is going to be worth around Rs.450 million.

"It will be a costly project. To organise friendly matches with teams like Malaysia or even Hong Kong, the AIFF has to spend $20,000-$30,000 per match. And if we take away top players, then the I-League will be devalued," he said.

Under Houghton, India have qualified for the final rounds of the Asia Cup for the first time in 24 years.

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