I-League Clubs Urge PM To Form Panel To Probe AIFF’s Functioning

“We have no choice but to knock on your doors and seek justice. We request you to kindly look into the matter and set up an enquiry commission to probe the manner in which the AIFF is functioning,” read the 23-point letter.

“We hope you will intervene and save Indian football, traditional clubs and all I-League clubs which have built a proper ecosystem to nurture young talent as future stars for Indian Football. We will provide any further information and documents to you as you may require,” it added.

The letter to the Prime Minister came days after the AIFF requested the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) to continue running simultaneously for the next three years, after the clubs met AIFF President Praful Patel in New Delhi.

Patel met the representatives of I-League clubs to talk about the roadmap of Indian football after reports of AIFF’s move to hand ISL the top tier status in Indian football surfaced.

Patel said that a three-year window will give the AIFF enough time to plan a roadmap as the two leagues running simultaneously was never an option for the long haul.

The six I-League clubs accepted AIFF’s proposal to maintain the status quo by continuing I-League and ISL for another 2-3 years but did not approve the idea of ISL winners being given the AFC Champions League slot. 

Patel had assured the I-League clubs that he will approach the AFC to ensure the two leagues co-exist for another 2-3 years, after a meeting with the representatives of the clubs, who threatened to move the court against the federation’s plan to make ISL the top league.

In a joint statement issued by Minerva Punjab, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala, the clubs said they agreed to the broadcast and scheduling plans for the upcoming I-League season.

“In the spirit of compromise, I-League clubs agree to the broadcast plan and scheduling plans for the upcoming season even though it is not ideal. I-League clubs also agree to continue with the two league system for another 3 years despite initially demanding immediate resolution with a unified league,” the statement had said.

“However, the clubs are not in favour of giving away their rightfully earned and longstanding AFC Champions league spot till a proper plan for unified league is 

“The United I-League clubs insist that the AFC Champions league spot must remain with the I-League as it is the I-League clubs that have (over the years) earned the AFC spots for India to enjoy today. The AIFF has already granted AFC Cup slot to ISL in 2017 and the same arrangement should continue till there is one unified league,” it added.

There was also a ‘Roadmap for League Football in India’ which the I-League clubs submitted.

In the roadmap, they pitched for the formation of a working group with representations from the AIFF, FSDL, I-League and ISL clubs to plan for the introduction of a unified league involving both I-League and ISL clubs with promotion and relegation.

The roadmap also suggested a tri-partite agreement be signed between AIFF, FSDL and I-League clubs, giving details of the arrangement for the next three years to avoid issues arising every now and then.

It also demanded the formation of an I-League Committee with representatives from AIFF and I-League clubs with the sole responsibility of taking decisions regarding I-League, 2nd Division league and Youth Leagues.

The I-League clubs urged that the roadmap has to be approved by the AIFF Executive Committee, to meet on July 9, and be simultaneously announced, giving all details, including the present status of I-League and ISL, and also the future plan.

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