Mumbai: Backing the upcoming IPL-style football league, Trevor Morgan, who has taken over as head of the IMG-Reliance League's one-month training camp here, said if the tournament makes even 50 per cent of the impact as its T20 cricket counterpart does, then it would benefit the game.
"The IPL has taken Indian cricket to another level and that has gone down right through the system. If (this) league has half that effect on the game of football in India then it would be great," Morgan told reporters today after taking over the reins of the camp that started last Friday.
Critics, especially I-League clubs, have slammed the new format and said it would not benefit Indian football, but Morgan, former coach of East Bengal, said the crowd would like to see international players participating in the tournament.
"You can't run a programme down even before the season has started. The plans that IMG have are fantastic, the people (players) they want to try to bring in and to spread the game right across India. To get a chance to see players we only saw on television would be a great opportunity for all football fans across India," he said.
Asked if the I-League would be affected because of the new tournament, the Perth-based Englishman said,"Nobody is going to know that until it actually happens. It could be the best thing that could happen to the I-League, it may not (also), who knows. But it (IMG-Reliance tournament) certainly is a great concept and it is fantastic. Only time will tell if it is going to be successful."
Morgan said he has a one-month contract with IMG-Reliance to work on the fitness of the contracted players.
"I am here just to help the players with their fitness. It's not my team. I need to help players when they go to their clubs and the relevant places that they go, that they are up to the level of fitness that the other players would be. I am just going to be working on their fitness," he said. The tournament is scheduled to kick start in January and on the long pre-season, he said, "It's going to be a long season ahead for them and this is just a step on the road to the season.
"It is in regards to the tournament the boys are going to be playing in January, but I believe they might be going on loan to the I -League clubs before that tournament. They need to bring themselves to a level of fitness that they can compete at, when they play in that league."
Morgan said he knew some of the players through the I-League and would focus on improving their stamina this week.
Having joined East Bengal in 2010, Morgan had a hugely successful stint as he coached the side to two Federation Cup titles besides finishing runners-up twice in the I-League, and the 56-year old said he was surprised at the intensity of rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
"I was totally surprised. Unless you are actually there, you don't know what it means to people of Bengal. It is everything to them. That East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan or Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal.
"Some people used to say they would rather win against Mohun Bagan than win the league. That's how big it meant to them but that's just the intensity of the football there (Kolkata)," he said.