ISL 2017: Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore assures merger of leagues
What's the story?
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has confirmed to the government that they are definitely considering a merger between India's two premier club competitions, the Indian Super League and I-League in the near future.
However, the idea is still in its initial stages and the complete roadmap of the same is yet to be defined.
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The ISL has slowly garnered all the attention from the I-League ever since the former's inception back in 2014. There have been persistent rumours about the merging of both the leagues in recent times but no exact clarification had been provided until now.
The AIFF had also faced a lot of issues regarding the same after a number of clubs from Goa including former champions Dempo SC withdrew from their participation in the I-League last year. Only Bengaluru FC made the switch from the I-League to the ISL at the end of last season and many clubs expressed their lack of interest in the proposed idea.
The heart of the matter
Despite not coming up with an accurate plan, the AIFF has now ensured that they will stick to their earlier plan of having two lower divisions as well apart from the newly merged first division of teams.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the sports minister, conveyed the idea when questions were raised about the same in the Upper House of the Parliament by an MP based in Bengal.
"AIFF along with all its stakeholders has planned to restructure the club football model in India wherein there would be one unified league at the top followed by lower division leagues namely, League 1 and League 2 in line with global best practices," Rathore said.
"AIFF has taken the help of FIFA and AFC for smooth implementation of the aforesaid plan," the minister added.
The move will only become fruitful after a proper roadmap, that suits all parties, is chalked out and we might have to wait for a few more years for the same.
The merger will have a healthy outcome if the idea is carried out with effective planning and it is indeed great news for the overall development of the game in the country.