Ozone FC will start in the second tier of the I-League the upcoming season said Mohmed Rafik, the CEO of the club. Ozone FC, who were one of the clubs interested in direct entry in the I-League, were refused so by the AIFF due to their agreement with Bengaluru FC.
The I-League CEO Sunando Dhar confirmed on Friday that Ozone were one of the clubs interested, he said, “Ozone FC is interested in playing from Bengaluru and they have contacted us more than once. But we have an agreement with Bengaluru FC that we won't allow another team from the city through the direct entry for five years.”
“Ozone can come into the league either through the second division or by playing from another city like Mysore. If the infrastructure is okay in Mysuru then they can try to get in” he continued.
The club, however, confirmed exclusively to Sportskeeda that they will not be joining the League from Mysore or any other city, “We are a club with a bottom-up approach, our main aim is to create a sustainable structure”, Mohamed Rafik said.
“With utmost respect, BFC have done brilliantly in the last few years and has helped in getting Indian football to where it deserves to be. But, it is sad, and as a club, we would not be looking to be joining the first division through Mysore or any other city for that matter” he continued.
The club, which has taken considerable strides in the recent past has one of the better youth structures in India, “We have been operating much before BFC at the grassroots level. In the past six years, we have been doing brilliantly in our youth development and our work at the grassroots level”.
Ozone FC reached the finals of the recently concluded DSK Cup, but for the management, it is just one step in the right direction, “Tangible results are always nice, it helps us keep motivated. Ultimately, our first team is a platform for our youth players and it is a long-term process.”
The teams to be participating in the League are to be finalised by December 11, according to the AIFF, but Mr Rafik still seems hopeful of being able to participate in the I-League in the coming year itself.
“I think it will create healthy competition in Bengaluru, but it's something that has to be taken up by the Federation (AIFF) and BFC, in good intention, I am sure there will be some thought process behind probably waiving off the clause” he concluded.
The I-League is set to start on January 7th.
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