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AIFF proposes knockout tournament for I-League, ISL teams to decide AFC slots

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has proposed a knockout competition, consisting of the top four teams from I-League and Indian Super League each, to decide India’s representatives in AFC competitions

football Updated: Jun 11, 2017 21:23 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Indian football,AIFF,I-League
The Praful Patel-led All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) has asked Mohun Bagan and East Bengal to make their decisions known by early next week.(Getty Images)

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has proposed that the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League run together this term and the top four teams of each league then meet in a knockout competition.

The winners and the runners-up of that competition will represent India in Asian club competitions, according to that proposal made at a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.

Should that be okayed, it could mean two I-League teams represent India in the AFC Cup and Asian Champions League qualifiers in 2019. Or, it could be that two ISL franchises do that.

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have asked for time. They have been given till early next week. In that time, the AIFF try and get the ISL on board. The AIFF can’t wait longer than that because Bengaluru FC need clarity given that they are playing the knockout rounds of the AFC Cup this term.

READ | India calendar adds to AIFF’s league scheduling woes

No one HT spoke to about the meeting wanted to be quoted because AIFF president Praful Patel has pointed out there several issues still need to be resolved.

But ‎speaking on condition of anonymity, they confirmed the proposal and said representatives of other clubs agreed subject to the AIFF assuring quality broadcast of I-League games and better marketing of the league.‎ The competitions won’t start before mid-November this year.

Five teams were called to the meeting involving only I-League clubs. Bengaluru FC were not because they want to be part of the ISL and neither were Mumbai FC because they have been relegated. DSK Shivajians, Minerva FC and Chennai City too weren’t called because their terms of engagement specify the possibility of a merger between the leagues or restructuring of the I-League.

First Published: Jun 11, 2017 00:49 IST