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Patel hints things may change in ISL next year

Kolkata, Aug 31 (PTI) Heavyweight clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal opted out of the Indian Super League due to disagreements with the All Indian Football Federation but its president Praful Patel hinted that things may change next season.

The Maidan 'Big Two' had openly blamed the AIFF supremo after their hopes of playing in the ISL were dashed, mainly on the issue of the waiver of franchise fee of Rs 15 crore.

But Patel said after a meeting with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee that things may change in the next season as this being a "bridging" year.

"Mohun Bagan and East Bengal hold India's football legacy, they hold a great tradition. I have said it before that this is only a bridging year. No final decision has been taken yet," Patel told reporters at the Nabanna.

The lucrative ISL may also take the sheen off the I- League after being accorded an official status but Patel thinks otherwise.

"I-League is still the No. 1 league and the most prestigious tournament of the country. The tournament will be of high level," Patel said.

I-League will run concurrently with the ISL this season (2017-18).

With India hosting the U-17 World Cup, the season had to be shortened, Patel said.

"The season has been condensed from seven to five months because of the World Cup and as a consequence both the leagues will run simultaneously," he said

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