All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has stated that there will be four new teams added to what is presently a 14 team I-League, from next season.
Speaking at the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) event on Thursday night, Patel stated, “"The I-League as it stands today, we are going to add four new teams. We were thinking of two new teams but by the time the entire process goes through, we will be adding four new teams in the coming season."
"It is good that the players would have some competition as it gives them better incentives and reward," he added. AIFF has already issued a tender notice inviting bids for new clubs to be a part of the I-League.
Meanwhile, Patel is also confident of the country winning the bid to host the under-17 World Cup in 2017.
"In the next couple of years lot of big things are going to happen in Indian football. We are bidding for the World Cup for under-17 in 2017, which I am sure we will be getting somewhere in the later part of this year," he said.
The AIFF President went on to point out that the time was ripe to increase the popularity of football in the country. He pointed out, “The fact is that we have had an overdose of just one game in this country and I am sure we need to broad base it. Almost 70 percent of youngsters are following some football league, which shows that the game itself is popular and we have to go on to make it even more popular.”
Patel also commended Bhaichung Bhutia and the FPAI for the work they had done and stated, "Bhaichung has done a great job by forming the FPAI and bringing all the players in India under the organization. We will continue to support FPAI."
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