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I-League clubs threaten to move court if AIFF announces ISL as top league

16:41 EAT 24/06/2019
I-League clubs association
Seven I-League clubs have vowed to take legal action if the Indian FA declares the Indian Super League as the top tier of Indian football...
The syndicate of seven I-League clubs namely, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, NEROCA and Gokulam Kerala have decided to drag the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to court if the Indian Super League (ISL) is announced as the top tier of the Indian domestic club football system.

This comes on the back of various reports derived during the past week that the Executive Committee of the AIFF will convene on 3 July to declare the ISL as India's top league. That could leave the I-League teams in the doldrums with an uncertain future.

Representatives of the aforementioned clubs met in the capital on Monday to discuss the scenario. However, officials from NEROCA and Aizawl FC were absent. They issued a joint statement:

"We, the United I-League clubs met today in New Delhi to discuss our future course of action in light of the latest developments in Indian football. With media report indicating that the ISL being announced as the top division league post an Executive Committee meeting scheduled for 3rd July 2019, the I-League clubs are standing united stronger than ever.

Quess East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, NEROCA and Gokulam Kerala FC have all decided to approach the appropriate courts for relief at the earliest as soon as any such decision announced by AIFF.

The refusal of the President of AIFF to meet the I-League clubs in spite of several requests and the subsequent vindictive actions specifically towards the I-League clubs combined with the coercive and blackmailing attitude of FSDL towards AIFF by refusing to make payments pushes the game to an uncertain future.

I-League has been the national league since 1996 and carries the tradition of Indian football with it. This tradition has helped create what football in India stands today and has been the torchbearer of Indian football. I-League has been the sole driving force in creating footballers and fans of the game in the country.

To be now told that the I-League will no longer be the TOP League is completely unacceptable and illegal and we pledge to fight this together as ONE FOOTBALL FAMILY which carries the tradition of Indian football."

These clubs and the AIFF have already been part of a standoff during the 2019 Super Cup. The united front of I-League clubs refused to participate in the cup competition unless they were granted an audience with the AIFF President Praful Patel to discuss the future of Indian football.

The request was not met with and the Indian FA slapped fines of INR 27,50,000 on five clubs instead as the clubs went AWOL during the tournament.

It remains to be seen if the AIFF does truly make ISL the official top league of India next week.