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Chennai franchise pulls out of Premier Futsal; plans to enter I-League

Sporting Clube de Goa and Dempo recently withdrew from the I-League and the AIFF have invited fresh bids from clubs.

Ronaldinho was Chennai’s star signing in the Premier Futsal

The club owners of Chennai 5’s have confirmed that they will not be taking part in the Premier Futsal League from next season. The decision to withdraw from the league was made after their focus shifted to building a team for the I-League. Chennai have already submitted a bid to the AIFF for an I-League side and are expected to re-submit it now that the AIFF have relaxed the financial norms and asked for fresh tenders.

Rohit Ramesh, the heir to the franchise, told TOI about their new expedition, “We have ended our ties with the Premier Futsal League after the first season,” he said. Chennai had a disappointing outing in the inaugural season of the competition after they failed to qualify for the knockout stages. The departure of their star signing Ronaldinho mid-way through the season was also a huge blow to their ambitions. 

“We are now looking to compete in the I-League. The good thing is we didn’t have any issues on technical front as we have good practice facilities and a fantastic venue in the form of the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium,” Rohit added. The owner also believes that an I-League team could be a major boost for the local football scene in the city.

“It will be a major boost for Chennai football if the federation accepts our application. Our aim has always been to own an I-League team and I am happy that we have started our journey and taken the first step,” he said.

AIFF sends notice to franchisees regarding Premier Futsal

The AIFF had already sent out a notice to every stakeholder to not be involved in the Premier Futsal league. With multiple clubs pulling out of the I-League, namely Sporting Club de Goa and Dempo SC, the news of Chennai bidding for a spot comes as a huge relief for football enthusiasts in India.

The Premier Futsal league caught the eye of the crowd in its first season by bringing down some great players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Ronaldinho but the long-term success of the competition was always in doubt given the popularity of the Hero Indian Super League. It remains to be seen if the league can hold the attention of football fans in the second year, but Chennai’s withdrawal is a big blow to the league.

The AIFF’s bid evaluation committee will make a final call on Chennai’s I-League ambitions. 

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