AIFF president Praful Patel responds to alleged threats by Aizawl FC | football | Hindustan Times
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AIFF president Praful Patel responds to alleged threats by Aizawl FC

Reportedly, a proposal is getting finalised by the AIFF to unify the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League to form the top rung of Indian football. Eight ISL teams and three I-League teams are set to play in this league, with Aizawl FC apparently left out of the mix.

football Updated: May 05, 2017 22:54 IST
HT Correspondent
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel (centre) and Moya Dodd (right), former football player and Board member of Football Federation Australia, during the' WIFA Just Play Festival' in Mumbai on Friday.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel (centre) and Moya Dodd (right), former football player and Board member of Football Federation Australia, during the' WIFA Just Play Festival' in Mumbai on Friday. (PTI)

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has responded to the alleged threats made by Aizawl FC to fast unto death, amid speculation that the current I-League champions may not be a part of the top tier of Indian football next season.

“They have sent some letter to me, (but) I have not yet received the letter because they won the I-League three days ago,” said Patel, speaking at an event promoting grassroots football in Mumbai. “Some threats have been issued. But let me make it clear that the AIFF does not work or get intimidated by any threat. AIFF works for the good of Indian football.”

Reportedly, a proposal is getting finalised to unify the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League to form the top rung of Indian football. Eight ISL teams and three I-League teams are set to play in this league, with Aizawl FC apparently left out of the mix and facing demotion to the second division.

“The road map has not yet been decided for next year. Without anything being decided, today, as we speak, I-League is the official league of India. And if they (Aizawl FC) are the winners of the official league, they will continue to play the I-League, and why are they giving threats?” Patel said.

Patel then congratulated the recently-crowned champions but explaining the hand of the AIFF in their success.

“Aizawl was relegated in 2016. It was the AIFF which saw the passion and let them play the I-League as a special dispensation,” said Patel. “They did well, they won, I congratulate the team, I congratulate the coach, congratulate everyone that is related to Aizawl’s successful march. If the AIFF did not support them then they would not be playing the I-League.”

“But now that they have won the I-League they will qualify for the AFC Cup. And let them play, we will be happy to see an Indian club move higher in the Asian ladder. On that extent they are to be fully complemented. (But) They will have to take care of their own finances,” he added.

The Indian national football team moved to 100th in the FIFA rankings, their highest in 21 years. Praising this rise as a step forward, Patel said that it is paramount that India reach the top 50 in the world for it to be highlighted as a landmark achievement.

Patel, who is also the president of the Western India Football Division (WIFA) that launched the ‘Just Play’ program for the development of grassroots football in Mumbai, spoke of the importance of developing the footballing youth in the country, their rise as the future of Indian football and its aspirations.