I-League clubs join hands in protest after AIFF decides to declare ISL as the top division league
Just when the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was about to declare the Indian Super League as the top tier league in the country, the I-League clubs joined hands together to start a new revolt against the governing body to seek justice and ensure their existence in the Indian football circuit. An executive meeting was to be held for the official announcement which would replace the traditional I-League as the top division of the country.
Officials of Mohun Bagan, Quess East Bengal, Minerva Punjab FC, Churchill Brothers FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and NEROCA FC met in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the “future course of action in light to the latest developments in Indian Football.” The joint statement issued states that the clubs are reuniting to fight for a common cause, to save the I-League, which has been the top league in the nation since its inception in 1996.
As per reports, AIFF is ready to ‘honour’ 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.
Even though the ISL has been the more glamorous league in India, the I-League held the status of being the top division league in the country. But the bitter-sweet relation between the AIFF and the I-League clubs recently made the situation a bit adverse. The lack of interest and negligence shown towards the I-League clubs has more than the clubs could bear. As a result of which many of them pulled out from the Super Cup, following which the AIFF imposed huge fines on the clubs.