ISL, I-league set for potential merger in 2017?
East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC could be the three teams to make an ISL switch.
After a 40 % increase in I-league viewership this year, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) is close to signing a merger deal with the Indian Super League (ISL) for a joint campaign in 2017. If the talks do have a positive outcome, the ongoing I-league season would be the last.
A source close to Sportskeeda said, “we haven't reached a conclusive decision yet, but the talks are definitely stronger than what they were. We are planning on making it a 11-team tournament from 2017. However, talks are at a very prelminary stage.”
Teams such as East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will be included in the ISL setup. The other outfits will play an undisclosed league, which will be announced post the ISL-I league merger confirmation.
When asked about a potential promotion and relegation battle, our source added, “There will be no promotion or relegation, if the proposed talks go through. It will be the normal ISL format. The other league, again if confirmed will have relegation and promotion.”
AIFF officials have already discussed these details with the three I-league clubs, and have a set of meetings lined up with in March. He said, “We are also trying to include AFC qualification for the ISL, for this we have to talk to officials there, but this is something of utmost importance if the merger happens. Since there is no relegation, the teams should be fighting for something.”
More to follow..