AIFF announces 21 clubs to play in I-League Division 2

The Indian FA finalised the 21 teams to play in the Division 2 of the I-League for 2012-13 with the top two clubs finding a place in next season's I-League.
Dodsal FC, the ambitious club from Mumbai and the DSK Shivajians from Pune were in talks with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for a direct entry into the I-League next season. It is a norm that every new team has to play in the second division and gain promotion to the top division with no short cuts available.

And there were rumours that Dodsal FC might get direct entry into the I-League after their chairman Rajen Kilachand met the AIFF president Praful Patel in Dubai. There were rumours of similar talks between Patel and the owners of DSK Shivajians as well.

However, all those possibilities have been in limbo as the AIFF have finalised a list of 21 teams who would participate in the Division 2, with the top two teams gaining promotion to the I-League.

Bangalore based Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) will observe proceedings from the sidelines as they were found of not complying to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)'s club licensing criteria.

HAL had received direct entry into the I-League's Second Division final round owing to their relegation in the 2011-12 season. However, the public sector club, failed to register themselves as a separate commercial entity despite repeated warnings by the national federation.

The other Bangalore club that will not take part in the I-League Second Division is Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) who had taken part in the Second Division qualifiers the previous year and also won the 2012 Bangalore Super Division League.

South United will be the only club from Bangalore to take part in the Second Division tournament.
The top two winners of the tournament will play in next year's I-League top tier.

"The first time that HAL was warned was when before they took part in the 2010-11 Second Division tournament," said newly appointed AIFF I-League chairman AR Khaleel to The Times of India.

"BEML followed the guidelines and formed KGF Sports Academy within a year. HAL had at least four years to fulfill the requirements, but they paid no heed. No national body can tolerate for so long," said Khaleel ,who is also the President of the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA).

HAL coach Chandrashekhar has rued the decision and expressed the club's desire to return to the I-League top tier.

"We roped in 18 boys after the mass exodus last season. This will be really tragic for them if we dont get to play and I hope AIFF can work out a solution to accommodate us," he said.

"For the first time,we had a strong squad and were playing superbly," said a senior member of the HAL team. "This will come as a big blow to our preparations and hopes. It would be a miracle if they could reverse the decision," the player added. 

However for South United coach Raman Vijayan it was like a dream come true. The gaffer revealed to The Times of India that they might entertain the possibility of hiring foreigners now.

"I have to sit with the management and charter out a plan. We'll have to hire more experienced players, even foreigners will be on the agenda," Vijayan added.

The AIFF had recieved a total of 47 nominations out of which the final 21 were selected. The clubs were requested to fulfill the required criteria and had to submit their documents by the 22nd of December 2012.

The 21 clubs to play in the second division was finalised on 15th January as the AIFF's executive committee made its decision with regard to the fulfilment of criteria by the selected teams.

The 21 teams to participate are:
EMTA Mohammedan Sporting, Green Valley Sports Club, Kalighat Milan Sangha FC, Southern United FC, Vasco Sports Club (Goa), Royal Wahingdoh, United Soccer, Kenkre Sports, Hindustan FC, Techno Aryan, PIFA Sports, Dodsal Sports, Samaleshwari Sporting, Aizwal FC, Rangdajied United FC, Langsning FC, DSK Shivajains FC, Kohima Komets, Shimla Youngs, Eagles FC, George Telegraph Sports Club.

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