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While the sides would be divided on the conference model, the top-four from each conference would advance to play the final round...

As revealed by Goal on Monday, in a bid to cut costs, the I-League has been divided into an eastern and western conference from the 2013-14 season, in a decision taken by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Emergency meeting, chaired by its President Praful Patel, at Udyog Bhawan in the Capital.

Besides, AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das and Senior Vice-President Mr. Subrata Dutta, Vice-Presidents Mr. Shrinivas Dempo, Mr. Larsing Sawyan, AIFF Treasurer Mr. Hardev Jadeja and I-League Chairman AR Khaleel also attended the meeting.

While the sides would be divided on the conference model, the top-four from each conference would advance to play the final round.

There were several other alterations that have been given the green signal during the Emergency meeting, they include the decision to increase the number of foreign recruits to four. Every club would be allowed to register four foreign recruits (3+1) and play all of them.

Besides, all Clubs participating in any State Association League would be allowed to register and field two Foreign Recruits in a match.

The second division sides though, can field only a solitary foreigner, while they would also have to foot the bill for their expenses during the qualifying phase, something the AIFF had borne until now. Also the U-19 tournament costs would have to be borne by the clubs.

 Also each club playing in both, the I-League and division two, will have to abide by the club licensing criteria rules.

Meanwhile it was also decided to limit the rosters that teams register for the league to 30 players, of which 5 must be from the U-23 category, while 2 of them should make the final 18, with atleast one U-23 player in the starting XI. A database would also be created of all the registered players in Indian football.

The Committee also set up a deadline for existing I-League Clubs by which the existing Clubs would have to start constructing their own Stadium/refurbish an existing Stadium latest by June 1, 2015, the failure of which the defaulters would be axed from the League.

Also next season only one team would be relegated, with the corporate entries of Mumbai Tigers and JSW being exempt from the process.

While I-League clubs have been looking to cut costs, the committee also decided to increase the participation fees to 5,00,000 from 50,000 rupees. Division two clubs would be charged 1,00,000 rupees as well.

The age-limit for the U-20 Tournament for I-League Clubs have been brought down to U-19. All the Clubs would be required to field Teams in the U-19 Tournament. Besides, AIFF Academies and Private Academies would also be a part of the U-19 Tournament. It’s also mandatory for all the 2nd Division League Clubs to field a Team in the Tournament.

Meanwhile the Federation Cup will also be played in a home-and-away format from next year, with the winner of the edition getting to host the final, the next time round.

It was also unanimously decided to make amendments to the AIFF Constitution as per the Directives of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in regard to age and tenure.

Meanwhile, AIFF’s Marketing Partners IMG-Reliance made a presentation regarding the newly proposed League which kicks-off in January 2014.

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