AIFF plans Indians only league with Indian Super League reserves and PSUs | football | Hindustan Times
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AIFF plans Indians only league with Indian Super League reserves and PSUs

The decision was approved at an AIFF league committee meeting in New Delhi and a proposal sent to the All India Public Sector Sports Promotion Board (AIPSSPB) on Wednesday.

football Updated: Jul 05, 2017 22:07 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
AIFF is planning a league for public sector units amending the idea to include teams from the ISL.
AIFF is planning a league for public sector units amending the idea to include teams from the ISL.(GETTY IMAGES)

Nearly two years after it was suggested by Fifa, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning a league for public sector units amending the idea to include teams from the Indian Super League (ISL). It will be exclusively for Indian footballers with the cost being picked up by the participating teams.

The decision was approved at an AIFF league committee meeting in New Delhi and a proposal sent to the All India Public Sector Sports Promotion Board (AIPSSPB) on Wednesday. “We are looking at a home and away corporate league. And since it will have only Indians, it could benefit the national team as well,” said Subrata Dutta, the chairman of the league committee, over the phone from New Delhi.

“I think it’s a good idea and we are pretty excited about it. We will discuss this at our annual general meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. A competition like this will help institution teams get more exposure and perhaps even greater visibility,” said V K Mahendru, secretary-general of the AIPSSB, over the phone from New Delhi.

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So it is possible that Air India and ONGC, teams which played in the I-League before club licensing regulations became mandatory and which they couldn’t fulfil being government institutions, will take on an all-Indian side from Chennaiyin FC in a closed league this season.

The idea of a league comprising public sector units, most of whom run football teams but couldn’t play the I-League and Federation Cup anymore, was first floated by Shaji Prabhakaran, former Fifa Development Officer for South and Central Asia, in 2015. If such a competition is organised efficiently, these institutions’ level of involvement in football could increase, Prabhakaran had told HT in a report published on September 25, 2015.

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It didn’t happen then because the AIFF didn’t have the money. It still doesn’t but if teams agree to pick up the tab, the competition, which could also serve as a reserve league for ISL clubs, will kick-off in 2017-18. Speaking to officials who were present at the meeting, HT learnt that a proposal to let ISL teams use the I-League second division as a reserve competition didn’t go through because it was felt that it would dilute the competition since they would be exempted from promotion.

AIFF exco to decide

The league committee of the All India Football Federation left the contentious decision of whether to allow an increase in foreigners in the I-League to its executive committee. Some clubs had proposed that in order to match the ISL, which will be held simultaneously with the I-League, teams should be allowed to sign eight imports with five being allowed on the pitch. Five clubs then opposed the idea. “Since the decision in the number of foreigners is always in the executive committee’s domain, we have decided to refer this to it,” said league committee chairman Subrata Dutta.