I-League: Clubs agree to run simultaneously with Indian Super League

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Aizawl FC I-League 2017 Champions
The Kolkata clubs forced AIFF to allow 8 foreigners in a team, much to the displeasure of defending champions Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab FC...

On Thursday, representatives of the I-League clubs sat down with officials from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to discuss the implementation of the upcoming 2017-18 I-League season while the medium and long term roadmap of the Indian football is yet to be finalised with the guidance and recommendations of the Asian Football Confederation.

The vital meeting was attended by Mr. Subrata Dutta (Chairman League Committee), Mr. Kushal Das (General Secretary, AIFF) along with Mr. Sunando Dhar (CEO, I-League).

In the meeting, the clubs agreed to the parallel running of the I-League and Indian Super League (ISL) for the 2017-18 season subject to certain conditions. The clubs have asked for the I-League 2017-18 to be broadcast on the Star network with high-quality production similar to the ISL. The clubs also demanded a dedicated marketing campaign with a professional promotion campaign and scheduling of matches.

The clubs have also recommended the setting up of a Task Force comprising of the I-League clubs to review the I-League on a regular basis. Another recommendation was to increase the travel subsidy offered to clubs by INR 5 lakhs with a special subsidy of INR 10 lakhs for the 2017-18 season along with the allocation of a separate budget for the promotion of the league from the AIFF.

Apart from the above, the clubs have also asked for changes in the rules for registering foreign players. The clubs have requested for permission to register 8 foreign players which include two players of Asian origin. Furthermore, the clubs should be allowed to field a maximum of 5 foreign players including one player of Asian origin in their playing eleven.

The chair of the meeting Mr. Subrata Dutta assured the clubs that their recommendations would be placed before the League Committee in a meeting to take place on the 5th of July, 2017.The final decision of the committee would then be communicated to the respective clubs.

The AIFF also expressed that they have received a letter from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) commending the AIFF Executive Committee for approving the project to determine the medium and long term vision for Indian Club Football. The AFC has also committed to sending a draft action plan regarding the same soon.

The AFC Secretariat have also provided a special dispensation to the AIFF to allow for the parallel running of the ISL and I-League 2017-18 as a stop-gap solution for the short team. This special dispensation has also been reviewed and agreed to by the global governing body FIFA.

The General Secretary of the AIFF Mr. Kushal Das thanked the AFC for their guidance and support for Indian Football. He said “The growth of Indian Football is our primary objective and we will take every step necessary to ensure positive results. We look forward to working with AFC and the other stakeholders to determine the most suitable medium to long term road map for Indian Football.”

For now, all eyes will be on the League Committee meeting scheduled for the 5th of July to see if the recommendations of the clubs are taken into consideration.

Goal spoke to Mr. Ranjit Bajaj, owner of Minerva Punjab FC after the meeting. Mr. Bajaj said that three other clubs – Aizwal FC, NEROCA FC and Chennai City FC had opposed the proposal to increase the number of foreign players. Despite this, the proposal was carried forward and will be put forward for the consideration of the League Committee on 5th July.