I-League TrophyAnselm Noronha/Goal

Indian football: Delhi could finally get a team in the I-League

Mainstream football could return to Delhi next season, after a hiatus of a year.

Delhi currently do not have any team playing in the Indian Super League (ISL) or I-League after Delhi Dynamos shifted bases to Odisha at the start of the ongoing season while Indian Arrows also moved away from the national capital.

However, with a spot opening up in the I-League after Mohun Bagan's merger with ISL side ATK, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has stepped up efforts to ensure the I-League does not suffer in terms of the number of participating teams.

The Indian FA are all set to invite bids for that vacant spot in the I-League and Delhi-based Sudeva Football Club are one of the front-runners to submit the bid.

"Yes, we are interested in playing the I-League. If the AIFF invites bids, we are looking to submit our case," Sudeva FC owner Anuj Gupta told Goal.

Delhi state league team Sudeva FC has played in the I-League second division and has fielded teams in the age-category tournaments of the AIFF and could now take step up into the I-League from the 2020-21 season. The ongoing season of I-League has 11 clubs which includes AIFF's developmental side Indian Arrows. 

In 2018, Sudeva acquired 85 per cent stake in Spanish third division club Olimpic de Xativa and from their association, young footballers have since been sent to Spain for exposure. Recently, in August 2019, three kids from the Sudeva Football Academy were sent to the Spanish club for training. 

I-League's last corporate entry was Gokulam Kerala two years ago. The Malabarians have steadily built a strong team and a name for themselves and the upcoming new entrant will be hoping to take that route as well.

The development should be a boost for football in Delhi.