Offended at what they feel is “a plan to kill the clubs” amidst “interference” by promoters of ISL, top I-League club teams Mohun Bagan and East Bengal Monday sought an urgent appointment with All India Football Federation President Praful Patel.
Along with the big two from Kolkata, league leaders Chennai City FC, Churchill Brothers, defending champions Minerva Punjab FC, Neroca FC, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala FC have all jointly written to the AIFF. All of these teams seek clarity on their future in Indian football and expressed “anguish and fear about a plan to kill the clubs.”
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Reportedly the last season of the I-League
The eight I-League clubs raised questions on the AIFF’s plan with the I-League – stating that according to reports in the media, this could be the last season of the league.
“Shutdown of the I-League will lead to unfathomable losses not just for I-League clubs but for the entire Indian football ecosystem. As important stakeholders of Indian football, we deserve to be heard so that an amicable and long-term solution could be found without robbing anyone of their livelihood or rightfully deserved a spot in the top league of the country”, as written in the appeal letter.
What concerns the I-League football teams
The merger of the I-League and Indian Super League, ‘interference of ISL promoters FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited) in Indian football”, are some of the issues the clubs are concerned about.
“FSDL is supposed to be AIFF’s commercial and marketing partner, however their interference with Indian football is becoming clear for all to see. It seems the AIFF has outsourced its job to its marketing partner DSDL along with all its powers.”
“Eight officials of the marketing partner have been appointed into different key committees of AIFF last year, without due process being followed, and without having the necessary qualifications and expertise required for the respective committees,” the clubs said.
On the proposed restructuring of leagues in Indian domestic football, they said, “If needed, I-League clubs are ready to accept that existing ISL clubs shall stay immune from relegation for as long as required per contracts already signed between relevant parties. There should not be any forceful relegation of I-League teams to the second division due to the restructuring of leagues.”
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