The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) would send a team of officials led by Alex Philips, Head of AFC- UEFA Affairs, to India in the first week of September to discuss the long term strategy with regards to Indian football's structure.
The AFC team would first meet the AIFF officials in Delhi before travelling across the country to meet clubs and seek their side of the story with regards to the mooted merger between the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL).
It must be noted that the governing body for football in Asia is keen to decide on a solution before the end of the Under-17 World Cup in October this year.
“The AIFF will decide the format for the short-term and there was an agreement around a road map to deliver medium and long-term plans for the game in India through a detailed process.
“Independent research would be commissioned and analysed before being evaluated by the AIFF and the stakeholders, with the decisions on the medium and long-term pathway being taken as soon as possible after the FIFA U-17 World Cup, held in India later this year,” read a statement released by the AFC back in July.
Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary, acknowledged that the discussions with the AFC team will be held next month but reiterated and reminded every stakeholder in Indian football of ‘contractual obligations.’
“Yes, the AFC would visit India next month to discuss the long term plan for Indian football. However, we have to keep in mind that there are certain contractual obligations and hence, to arrive at a solution isn’t very easy,” Das told Goal.
The AFC has already approved of the I-League and the ISL being run simultaneously for the 2017-18 season and have referred to it as a ‘bridging solution.’
It remains to be seen whether the AFC team of experts can eventually arrive at a solution in the best interest of Indian football at large.