I-LEAGUE NEWS : 2016-17

AIFF'S UNREALISTIC DECISION CREATES CONTROVERSY IN INDIAN FOOTBALL

18.5.2016 : The All India Football Federation and it's corporate partner IMGR presented a new roadway in a meeting at New Delhi which ultimately created a lot of controversy in Indian football. AIFF presented Indian Super League, which started just two years back as the premier football tournament of the country. The I league (started way back in the year 1996 by the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh at Yubabharati Kriangan,Kolkata) playing clubs are now forced to play in a newly formed league (League 1 and League 2) where there is no chance of a promotion in the premier league. Incidentally I League is a recognized tournament of FIFA and AFC where almost all the clubs have fulfilled the AFC's club licensing criteria, whereas ISL is yet to be recognized by FIFA or AFC.

The new proposed league will ultimately lead to the closure of many I league playing clubs as they will have to play without any motivation and certain direction. Moreover the budget of the I league playing clubs are low as compared to ISL franchisee clubs. AIFF is demanding an amount of fifteen crore as guarantee money from the I league playing clubs and only two clubs will be included in the ISL. This created a furious reaction to the I league playing clubs - Mohun Bagan, East Bengal Sporting Clube and Salgaocar FC who protested strongly against this unrealistic decision of AIFF. The AIFF Senior Vise President Subrata Dutta himself opposed the new roadway, though he is in favour of one league. But, President Praful Patel while interacting said, "Football is a game of serious investment. It is no more an amature sport".

The president of Sporting Goa, Peter Vaz are among the critic who firmly protested against the proposal. While interacting Vaz said," Qualification to the top league should be entirely on merit. You cannot ignore what I-League clubs have done all these years." The I league playing clubs of Goa, Salgaocar FC, Sporting Goa and Dempo Sports Club are going to seat and decide the plan of action within a few days. In Kolkata, the officials of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan along with IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly are planning for the next action against the unrealistic action of the AIFF and it's marketing partner. The AIFF officials ignoring the past history of Indian football which cannot be neglected. The ISL is yet to create a fan base and violating the rules imposed by FIFA and AFC in several occasions. Even the franchisee clubs of ISL had to distribute free tickets to fill up the stadiums.

It is now a millon dollar question that what will be the fate of the clubs who are serving Indian football for years.

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AIFF TO INTRODUCE 'INDIAN SUPER CUP' & 'CHAMPIONS CUP'

17.05.2016: The AIFF after an important meeting at New Delhi is now all set to introduce Indian Super Cup in place of Federation Cup from 2017-18 football season. The representatives of 29 clubs from the ISL franchisee and the I League playing clubs were present at the meeting. The top four teams from I League and top four team from ISL will participate in the new tournament, Indian Super Cup. The champion and runners up of the Indian Super Cup will participate in the AFC Cup. The AIFF football calendar will start from September and end at March and within the said period all the three tournaments I League, Indian Super League and Indian Super Cup will be organised. Though the new format of the new tournament and the number of participating teams in both the leagues are yet to be decided. The footballers will have to decide now where they will play - I League or ISL.

It is expected that two new teams will join in the ISL from two different cities where they will be no relegation. Whereas, I League will have relegation as usual. The I league will be in three divisions as I League Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3. from 2017-18 season.

AIFF'S PROPOSED CALENDER FROM 2018

August : Champions Cup
September – March : ISL, I League 1 and I League 2 [November – February : Women’s League]
April – May : Super Cup

It will be a big challenge for the I League playing clubs to compete with the ISL clubs. The I league playing clubs are generally a low budget (10-15 Crore)clubs, whereas the ISL franchisees are a high budget (40 crore) clubs though they are yet to create a fan base. Even many I league playing clubs are still in search of a good sponcer since several years. The new Super Cup can see three teams from Kolkata if they qualify- East Bengal and Mohun Bagan who are dominating Indian football for years, created history almost in all the tournaments they played with a strong fan base world wide and the newly introduced team of ISL Atletico De Kolkata who are yet to create it's fan base and dominance in Indian football.

A new international invitational football tournament will be introduced by AIFF where six countries will participate alike Nehru Gold Cup football tournament. This tournament will be organized every year at the start of the season.