Indian Football: AIFF President Praful Patel to knock on AFC doors to continue existing arrangement

Praful Patel President AIFF
AIFF Media
AIFF President Praful Patel has stated his desire to continue with the existing arrangement for three more years...

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has stated that the Indian FA would like the existing arrangement of the country's domestic football league structure to continue for three more years. The apex body will seek approval from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the same. 

Patel met the representatives of I-League clubs to talk about the roadmap of Indian football after several months of uncertainty regarding the status of I-League as India's top-tier league. 

After the meeting, Patel said, "Tomorrow (in the future), we don’t want to pack up the I-League. It should continue. But ultimately there should be a roadmap of Indian football. Two leagues cannot go on permanently. The AFC will also not allow it forever. It is just a solution for the time being."

The AIFF president feels that the existing arrangement of I-League and ISL functioning together should continue for three more years, subject to approval by the AFC. 

"There is a historical issue with Indian football, within that framework, I feel a reasonable two to three years window should be given for I-League also to be continuing. I cannot give you any assurance yet because I have to talk to the AFC. AFC also have to agree to what I am saying. It may be our wish but AFC will have to agree. Our commercial partners have to be consulted. At the end of the day, there are costs involved.

"There are also rights which they got through the Master agreement which we had signed many years ago. Within that framework which is three years, I feel that the I-League also must co-exist with the fullest recognition of the AFC so that it is an AFC product. It should not be something which is not recognised by the AFC. So the clubs in I-League must also not get lost in the upward movement. These are just suggestions which we will try to talk to all the stakeholders."