AIFF President Praful Patel: Indian football moving in the right direction

Gianni Infantino Praful Patel
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Praful Patel backs Goa to have a 'good future' in Indian football...

AIFF (All India Football Federation) President Praful Patel believes that Indian football is treading on the right path and in the near future, Goa will establish itself as one of the prominent footballing epicentres in the country. 

He believes that it will not be surprising to find Churchill Brothers in the Indian Super League (ISL) within the next few years if they manage to get an investor. 

"In 2020, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have joined the ISL. Hopefully, Churchill (Brothers) will also get a good financial partner and come into the ISL in the near future. 

"The AIFF cannot help any club to get a financial partner, it is a governing body. We are not a commercial organisation, but I can tell you as the President of AIFF that football is in the right direction, and Goa will have a very good piece in the larger pie of Indian football," stated Patel.

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East Bengal roped in Shree Cement Limited as their investor and will make their debut in the ISL in the upcoming season. Whereas, Mohun Bagan merged with ATK to make their way into the top tier of Indian football. 

Patel stressed that the ISL and I-League will continue to function as League 1 and League 2 as promotion and relegation will kick in from the 2024-25 season. 

The AFC had rubber-stamped the Indian FA's proposal that will see the I-League winners get an entry into the Indian Super League (ISL) by virtue of merit from the 2022-23 season. As per the proposal, promotion and relegation will be implemented from the 2024-25 season. 

"We have integrated the I-League and the ISL in such a manner that promotion and relegation would take place. It is no more a closed league. It was a closed league only for the first few years. From 2024-25, the ISL and I-League will have promotion-relegation. The last club of ISL will go to I-League and the I-League winners will be promoted to the ISL. The two leagues will now coexist as League and League 2."

The Member of Parliament feels that without money football cannot progress and the clubs need to be more professional to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of world football. 

"There is no privatization of football, these are leagues. And these leagues are happening with the full approval of FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation). Historically whatever was the traditional way of football has to change at some time. Clubs cannot sustain themselves without money. We have to bring this in because it is good for players, clubs and fans. Unless there is a healthy economic system for football, it will not survive in the long run," signed off Patel.