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5 reasons why the I-League-ISL merger will be harder than it sounds

Abhranil Roy
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11.69K   //    20 Mar 2017, 13:48 IST
Aizawl will not be a part of the first division

Over the past month or so, one conversation has garnered more interest than any other in the Indian football circuit and it is the possibility of watching a merged league as early as the next season.

The merger had been suggested more than a year ago, but was met with severe opposition from I-League clubs. However, it seems that IMG R has managed to sell the idea, if not to everyone then at least to the big three that is East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC.

Despite AIFF president Prafulla Patel openly proclaiming back in January that the merger between the Indian Super League and the I-League won’t happen at least till 2018, it seems there has been some serious lobbying on Reliance’s end since then.

Also read: Shahrukh Khan could cash into ISL, I-League merger by acquiring substantial Mohun Bagan stake

The story, which was initially leaked by leading Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika has since then been backed by Scoopwhoop, states that several sources inside Indian football’s governing body have confirmed that the vision will soon be a reality and that there have been several meetings between Mrs. Nita Ambani, the chairperson and various club officials in Mumbai.

Interestingly, if the merger does go ahead as scheduled, the AIFF and IMG R will have several big problems to solve, a few of which are listed below:

#1 What happens to the other clubs?

According to the proposals, the merger will see ISL emerge as the first division league in the country with the eight franchises and the three I-League clubs. This, however, leaves the other I-League clubs, including this season’s surprise packages Aizawl FC in a state of limbo as they will have to play in the second division for a minimum of three years, during which there will be no promotion or relegation.

It is hard to believe that the other outfits will not demand an alteration to this rule.

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Abhranil Roy
Manchester United and East Bengal fan. Writing comes to me as naturally as breathing. Contact:
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