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AIFF proposes to run ISL and I-League simultaneously for 2-3 years, will seek for AFC's permission

Published Jul 04, 2019
Jul 04, 2019 IST

Gianni Infantino (left) with Praful Patel
Gianni Infantino (left) with Praful Patel

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to reach out to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to seek permission to run the I-League simultaneously with the Indian Super League (ISL) for at least two-three years, although it is a temporary remedy.

Praful Patel met with the officials of the I-League clubs in a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future roadmap of Indian football and the fate of the I-League after it was reportedly learnt that the ISL would become the senior most League in India.

"There is a historical issue with Indian football, within that framework. I feel a reasonable two to three year’s window should be given for I-League also to be continuing,” said Praful Patel after the meeting. But he made it clear that he cannot anything guarantee until the AFC gives them a green light.

He further added, "I cannot give you any assurance yet because I have to talk to the AFC. AFC also have to agree to what I am saying. It may be our wish but AFC will have to agree. Our commercial partners have to be consulted. At the end of the day, there are costs involved.”

Even if both the leagues co-exist, it cannot be continued after three years, following which a proper framework has to be formulated. "We don't want to pack up the I-League. It should continue. But ultimately there should be a roadmap of Indian football. Two leagues cannot go on permanently. The AFC will also not allow it forever. It is just a solution for the time being," Praful said.

Among other things discussed in the meeting was the broadcast of I-League matches which were hampered largely due to the ISL last season. Patel asked whether the clubs are willing to pay half the cost of production. In reply, the clubs enquired whether the revenue can be shared if an alternative broadcaster is found.

Patel offered a three-year schedule for the footballing calendar. It is expected that the I-League clubs would respond to Praful’s proposals by Thursday. The AIFF’s executive committee meeting will be held on July 9th.

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