I-League 2017-18: 3 teams reportedly submit bids for direct entry into top division

I-League will announce a new team on 15th
I-League will announce a new team on 15th September

What's the story?

For a direct entry into the 2017/18 I-League, All India Football Federation (AIFF) has received three new bids for consideration, according to this report by Goal India. The AIFF had postponed the deadline for the interested parties to submit their bid to the 8th of September, by which three teams have staked their claim. Bengaluru based Ozone FC, Gokulam FC from Kerala and a Rajasthan-based unit have tabled their bids for a spot in this year's I-League.

In case you didn't know...

For the selection of new teams, AIFF had invited bids from various cities of the country which included the likes of Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ranchi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Malappuram, and Trivandrum. But due to unsatisfactory and incomplete bids from the three mentioned teams, the Indian federation had to postpone its final date of evaluation for a new team.

The heart of the matter

With Bengaluru FC set to play in the Indian Super League this season and DSK Shivajians opting out of the I-League, the league had just eight teams for the current campaign. This prompted the AIFF to look out for a new team. The board was looking a team from the south after the omission of Bengaluru FC which prompted Ozone FC and Gokulam FC to make their bids. The I-League's never had a team from Gujarat or Rajasthan which might have tempted the interested party to make a claim from the western zone of the nation.

It has to be noted that out of the three received bids, the board will select only one team for a direct place in the league. The tenth and the final team of this season will be formed by taking on board young Indian footballers from all the age groups to make them match fit for the international competitions - a project termed as 'Arrows' by the board.

What next?

After evaluating the received bids, the board's Bid Evaluation Committee will reveal the team which gets a direct entry into this year's I-League on 15th September in New Delhi.

Author's take

I-League needed a new flavour to attract the masses to the league and roping in a new team can prove to be a decisive factor in the competition's future. Though a team from the south is predicted to be the board's choice, a club from untouched corners of the country like Rajasthan will provide the league with a broader platform.

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Edited by Abhijit Bharali
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