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AIFF President promises co-existence of I-League and ISL at least for 3 years from now

All India Football Federation President (AIFF) Praful Patel assured the I-League clubs that their future is secure and both the Indian leagues will co-exist for sometime from now. Praful Patel along with AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das and I-League CEO Sunando Dhar met with the representatives of ten I-League clubs to discuss the status of leagues in Indian Football.

Patel said he will seek the Asian Football Confederation’s approval for the current status quo to be maintained for another 2-3 years, by which time he hopes all the stakeholders will reach to a consensus. “We don’t want to pack up the I-League. It should continue. But ultimately there should be a roadmap of Indian football. Two leagues cannot go on permanently. The AFC will also not allow it forever. It is just a solution for the time being,” Patel said after the meeting.

Out of the ten teams, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC, NEROCA, Gokulam Kerala and Shillong Lajong – are a united front on the issue while I-League champions Chennai City opted to not be part of the alliance during the Super Cup tournament. Real Kashmir FC, who were promoted to the top division last season, did not join the group but a representative of the club attended the meeting. The clubs are seeking clarification on the move to promote ISL as the top tier league in Indian football as per the agreement between AIFF and IMG-Reliance. If the AIFF grants top league status to ISL, the winning team of the ISL is expected to play in the AFC Champions League — Asia’s top tier club competition — qualifying round. Till now, the I-League champion team has been getting that chance to play in the AFC Champions League.

“AIFF and the Hero I-League Clubs have agreed and will work together to find a solution to all issues including the calendar, scheduling, broadcasting, and the continuation of the Hero I-League for a defined period, till the roadmap is ascertained in a time-bound manner in consultation with FSDL, and the AFC,” said the AIFF in a press release.

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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