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I-League clubs prepare new roadmap; deliberate Super Cup participation

18:36 WAT 19/03/2019
I-League Trophy
The nine I-League clubs could also feature in the ongoing Super Cup...

The union of nine I-League clubs, who had earlier withdrawn from the 2019 Super Cup, convened in Chennai to prepare a new roadmap for the future of Indian football, Goal has reliably learnt.

The nine clubs include Aizawl FC, Chennai City, Churchill Brothers, East Bengal, Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA and Real Kashmir.

In a meeting that stretched late into Tuesday night, the nine clubs deliberated to finalise a joint document which talks about resconstituting the domestic club football system of India. The suggested league structure talks of a 'unified top division league' including all the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs and I-League clubs.

As per the suggested plan, a total of 36 professional teams would be participating across the two divisions, with a system of promotion and relegation in place. It attempts to build an ecosystem where all the current top division clubs can continue to ply their trade in top-tier.

Financial security has been given a priority in this plan and apparently, the model ensures that all stakeholders (clubs and federation) benefit. It has also been learnt that there is a provision to pay Rs 2 Crore as grant to the second division clubs for their development.

The union of clubs want to present the idea to the governing body of football in India, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), at the earliest.

Super Cup participation

The other major agenda of the meeting revolved around the participation in the Super Cup. All the nine clubs have issued statements to pull out of India's cup competition ahead of the main round, slated to begin later this month.

However, it was decided that the clubs would willing to play the tournament in Bhubaneshwar but before that, their grievances must be addressed by the AIFF.

If the AIFF President and authorities agree to a meeting along with all the nine I-League clubs, they could overturn their decision. But, the competition must start afresh and the qualifying rounds must be rescheduled.

It must be noted that the pre-Round of 16 qualifiers already took place on March 15 and 16, for which Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala and Minerva Punjab decided to give walkovers to their opponents from the ISL.