AIFF and AFC propose new club football road map, ISL set to become national top division
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have jointly announced the future roadmap of Indian Football in the AFC Headquarters at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in presence of all the ISL teams, I-League clubs and other stakeholders. The road map officially announces the Indian Super League as the top division and I-League as the interim cup competition of the country.
The ISL champions will be awarded the AFC Champions League play-offs spot and the I-League will be demoted to the AFC Cup play-off spot.
Dato Windsor John, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Secretary, said “Everyone has to put the good of Indian football at the forefront and take the best decisions to develop Indian club football. The AFC will be very much involved to ensure the growth of the game to the next level with the pathway to a single league.
“Every point of this package – and it is a package – has been thought-out extremely carefully and it is aimed simply at providing the best chance to develop Indian club football. We have informed AIFF that 10-12 teams are not enough for the top League – it must be bigger.
“Everyone has contributed to the development of the Indian club game - ISL, I-League clubs, the AIFF and the AFC – and I am sure that if this roadmap is considered further then Indian football will see the benefits for the game. We are now all working together to deliver the best future.”
All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das, added: “We now have a road map which provides the best opportunity for Indian club football. I would like to thank the AFC – and its General Secretary – for their contribution in proposing a solution to this unique problem. India is an important country for football in Asia.
“We have to be financially sustainable and take into consideration all commercial and contractual aspects of this plan because commerce is key to football not only in India but across the world of football. We must be cognisant of that fact of football life, that footballing legacy and investment are equally important for the development of Indian football.”
Ranjit Bajaj, Minerva FC owner, tweeted thanking FIFA and AFC for ensuring promotion and relegation, although it took four years.
All the ISL teams and the I-League clubs have agreed on implementing and working according to the guidelines of the proposed road map. The road map will now be presented in the AFC Executive Committee and the AIFF Executive committee to formally announce the restructuring of Indian club football ladder.
The road map in brief mentions the following :
1) Indian Super League to be the national top division from the 2019-20 season (the present season) with the existing 10 teams.
2) Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the owners of the IS,L will invite two I-League clubs to bid for two more franchises in the ISL in the 2021/2022 season.
3) I-League Champions to qualify for ISL 2022/23 without paying any fee. No central pool revenue to be shared to the new entrant on merit.
4) I-League Champions to qualify for ISL 2023/24 without paying any fee. No central pool to be shared to the new entrant on merit.
5) I-League to be demoted to the second division from the interim cup competition of the country. ISL to continue with 14 teams and have relegation to the second division.