Reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC and runners-up Bengaluru FC are among five clubs to have met the required criteria for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Club Licensing Criteria for the 2018-19 season, Goal can confirm.
The Marina Machans have been awarded the AFC and the National license by the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Club Licensing Committee - First Instance Body (CLC-FIB). This means Chennaiyin FC have been cleared to take part in the AFC Cup next year apart from the ISL.
The five licensing criteria are listed here .
As a result, the five clubs in question will now have to request an exemption in order to take part in the upcoming ISL. It is expected that they will be granted an exemption for a year but the clubs will have to pay a fine.
The 2018-19 season of the ISL is set to kick-start on Saturday when Kerala Blasters take on ATK at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata. With the opening game just a day away, the Kochi-based side will now be forced to send a written request to allow them to take part in the games.
It is embarrassing that these clubs have failed to clear the licensing criteria despite spending crores of money. All the clubs were assisted in the licensing process and a deadline was informed well in advance. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had conducted club licensing workshops with all the clubs.
If half of the league's participants can clear the inspection, the others who have failed are left with no excuses. Except for Jamshedpur FC, the rest of the clubs have been in existence for over four years.
This points to a lack professionalism from the clubs who have not cleared the licensing process.