Promoters of the new franchise based league are writing to I-League clubs to discus whether they are interested in bidding for teams and providing players for the new competition.
A letter stating this and that players would benefit from taking part in this competition has reached at least one club. HT has a copy of the letter signed by IMG Reliance's chief operating officer Ashu Jindal seeking a discussion "at the earliest."
There have been rumours of a thaw in the standoff between I-League clubs and the commercial partners of the All India Football Federation. Officially though so far the clubs have said they would have nothing to do with the competition scheduled between January and March 2014.
The clubs' forum has sought a discussion on how this inter-city league would benefit Indian football. The AIFF even formed a committee for this but IMG-Reliance hasn't yet agreed to a meeting specifically about this tournament. They did meet recently in Mumbai but the discussion was restricted to finding ways to promote the I-League beginning this month.
"…we will shortly be inviting bids for franchises of the IMG Reliance tournament, and are open to receive bid offers from I-League clubs," the letter states. If the club or clubs jointly agree to bid for a franchise, they will have to "select/be allotted a team of players only from the IMG-Reliance player pool."
The club can loan its players to the tournament pool even if it doesn't want to be part of the bidding process, the letter states.
"In any case, whether or not you wish to participate in the IMG Reliance tournament we would be happy to take your players on loan as we believe the players will also benefit from playing in this tournament," according to the letter.
Loaning players would mean the I-League clubs, most of whom are struggling for funds, won't have to foot their salary for at least three months. IMG Reliance has already signed nearly 40 Indian players.