India’s I-League future looks fragile with AFC club slots in doubt

September 26 – India’s I-League will kick off November 16 with its future, and the status of its qualification slot for the regional Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competitions still unclear.

The I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) will run concurrent schedules with the ISL slated to start a month earlier on October 20.

The I-League has been India’s premier football league, but last year in accordance with the Master Rights Agreement (MRA) with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), a subsidiary of Reliance which bankrolls the ISL, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced that the ISL will be the country’s top league. The move caused consternation and anxiety among the I-League clubs over the fate of the league who took their protests to the AIFF.

The AIFF also indicated that India’s AFC Champions League berth would be reserved for the winner of the ISL and that the winner of the I-League would have to make do with the AFC Cup slot to comply with the AFC Club Competition guidelines which stipulate that the AFC Champions League slot is awarded to the winner of the country’s top division.

The move is a reversal of fortunes for the I-League, but the second-tier league might now even end up empty handed with the AFC Cup slot potentially being a reward for winning the Super Cup.

The AIFF is reportedly still trying to find a solution for the problem.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571781220labto1571781220ofdlr1571781220owedi1571781220sni@o1571781220fni1571781220

 


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