With an aim to induct minimum of two new clubs as part of the I-League, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), is conducting an open house meeting for interested agencies to discuss and solicit suggestions prior to finalising the Request for Proposal for formally inviting the bids.The meeting is scheduled for 5 March at the Football House, in Dwarka, New Delhi.
"We (AIFF) will be coming out with a bid document to see if at least two teams can be inducted in the I-League and we hope that these two teams come with a stronger focus - both financial and technical - and we need to bring good teams with solid corporate backing which will introduce some sense of competition, because they will be bidding for players in the next season, the existing clubs will also have to raise the bar and we hope swerve more competition," AIFF President Praful Patel was quoted at the FICCI GOAL 2013 Indian Football Convention.
"We will try to give an entry to two teams, but also based on major financial commitment that the team has to invest in infrastructure. We also want to give a geographical spread to the game. Right now, we have four teams from Goa, three or four from Kolkata, we don't have any team of north India, we don't have any team in south of India. We need to have this spread of teams across the geographical regions, which will also help us to make it a pan-India following for the game."
Praful Patel had as well suggested that the I-League clubs could partner the European ones, while also suggesting a three-year exemption for new entrants against relegation, something which may not go down well with the existing stakeholders.
"If the clubs want to partner with any other clubs in the world, they can come as co-branded clubs. We (AIFF) have no objection to that kind of an exercise as long as a good team comes with a good focus, commitment to the game, and we won't relegate it for the first three years because otherwise, you can't expect a team to come on day one and...I mean, I'm sure, my own assessment is that any of these new clubs will not get relegated because they will come with that much more commitment and will come with that much more strength, but that notwithstanding, we have to give them some type of comfort and we'll do that," he stated.
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