AIFF to meet I-League clubs on July 3, Executive Committee meeting postponed to July 9
After much drama in the past week, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has finally agreed to meet the I-League clubs on July 3. The proposed Executive Committee meeting of the AIFF has been rescheduled to July 9. It is expected that the main agenda of the meeting on July 3 will be the future of I-League clubs in the context of the recent developments in Indian football.
The I-League clubs had previously requested the apex body to meet them at the beginning of the season and once before the Super Cup, but the AIFF did not respond. Things got worse recently when reports suggested that the Indian Super League will be named as the senior most league in the country, displacing the I-League from its place.
In response to this, several I-League clubs including Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Minerva Punjab FC, Churchill Brothers FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC joined hands in the common interest to save the future of the I-League. The clubs threatened to go to the court if the I-League is undermined in the future, as in the case if ISL is declared as the top league in the country. I-League champions Chennai City FC also lent a hand of support to the I-League clubs.
For the past two seasons, the ISL and the I-League were being held simultaneously even though the I-League was recognized as the most prestigious tournament in the country. As of now, AIFF is ready to ‘honor’ the contract with IMG-Reliance which has a clause to make ISL the “most senior and prestigious football league in India”.
The contract refers to a 15-year Master Rights Agreement (MRA) whose primary signatories were the AIFF and IMG-Reliance. Currently, it is constituted in the name of Reliance based Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), in which broadcaster Star India also holds stakes. The Executive Committee meeting was to declare the ISL as the top league in the country, but with the meeting rescheduled, all eyes will be on the meeting with the I-League clubs on July 3.