I-League clubs give a nod to AIFF's proposal, reject giving away AFC Champions League berth to ISL
Concerned I-League clubs have accepted the proposal to run the two Indian leagues (I-League and ISL) simultaneously for the upcoming two-to-three seasons. Even though they did not agree on the fact that the Indian Super League champions will get a ticket to the AFC Champions League instead of the I-League winners.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel had given a 24-hour cushion to respond to the proposals given by him in the meeting held on July 3 with the I-League officials. In reply, a joint statement was issued by Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Minerva Punjab FC, Churchill Brothers FC, Gokulam Kerala FC, and Aizawl FC.
The statement read, “In the spirit of compromise, I-League clubs agree to the broadcast plan and scheduling plans for the upcoming season even though it is not ideal. I-League clubs also agree to continue with the two league system for another 3 years despite initially demanding immediate resolution with a unified league.”
“However, the clubs are not in favor of giving away their rightfully earned and longstanding AFC Champions league spot till a proper plan for the unified league is initiated,” was the verdict from the I-League clubs. The ISL already has a reserve slot for its winners in the AFC Cup.
Among the other things discussed was the broadcast issue, with the clubs demanding better standards. As per the statement, all matches of the I-League will be shown live on HD channels with improved production quality (8 camera set up with specifications mentioned); I-League matches to start at 5 pm and 7 pm (for non-floodlight venues, kick-off timings to be 2 pm/ 3 pm).
The AIFF Executive Committee will be meeting on July 9th to further discuss the roadmap of Indian football. It will be clear by then whether the I-League clubs get all their demands fulfilled or not. All said and done, the AFC needs to give the green light to run both the leagues simultaneously.