A commitment to developing infrastructure is a must for the two new clubs being sought by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for next season's I-League. The new teams would replace ONGC and Air India who won't be allowed in the league for not fulfilling club licensing criteria as mandated by the Asian Football Confederation.
The AIFF's Open House session in New Delhi on Tuesday was attended by 30 parties that included Sahara, GMR, Hero, Jindal Steel Works and Dodsal. A similar exercise will be carried out in Dubai by month-end after which, the AIFF will accept bids between the window of April 1 and May 10.
"The new clubs can either lease out an existing stadium and then develop it as per Fifa criteria, or build their own stadiums from scratch. It will be a useful addition to the existing infrastructure," said I-League CEO Sunando Dhar.
The new entrants will be given a three to five-year time to set up base and hence will not be relegated at the end of the season, similar to AIFF's development side Pailan Arrows.
"The current I-League has not been commercially viable and we need more corporates to enter the field. The concessions given to them are much needed as we need to give them time to acclimatise to the league," Dhar added.