KOLKATA: Former England and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has cast doubt on a new football tournament in India, dealing a further blow to the postponed event.
Fowler, one of the semi-retired world stars hired to play in West Bengal's Premier League Soccer (PLS), tweeted that the tournament now appeared unlikely to go ahead.
"Ah well.. India looks like its cancelled, boots are clean and looking for a new place to play," wrote the 35-year-old, who was sold for $530,000 to the Kolkata franchise at an auction last month.
The PLS, based along the lines of cricket's popular Indian Premier League, was postponed for a second time on Wednesday.
It was due to start on February 25, then put off until March 24, before the latest delay caused by problems organising grounds. No new date has been set for the event to start.
Former Argentina star Hernan Crespo, Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and Robert Pires of France were among the stars signed to play alongside district-level players.
Six local business groups that bid successfully for a team to play in the PLS had splurged around $7 million to buy the foreign stars at the auction.
The PLS has faced numerous hurdles since the ambitious project was announced just a month ago.
The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) refused to allow Indian players from the official domestic I-League to join, saying the PLS was essentially a state-level tournament.
The latest delay is thought to be due to the reluctance of the state government to release grounds owned by it for the PLS unless details of the tournament finances and the source of funding were made clear.
The tournament was to be held in the state capital of Kolkata and five district towns of Howrah, Durgapur, Siliguri, Barasat and Haldia. AGENCIES