FIFA, in a mail to the All India Football Federation, asked for an update about the current scenario of Indian football’s league system on Thursday. AIFF in its official statement has said that they are working towards a unified league in the country and would require two-three years window to shape it out in entirety.
The mail from FIFA comes after six I-League clubs wrote to the international governing body asking them to intervene since reports emerged that Indian Super League would be given the top-tier status. As per the Master Right Agreement (MRA) signed by AIFF and IMG-Reliance in 2010, the Indian football body is supposed to make the ISL the top-division league over I-League. “We would like to obtain an update on the current position of the AIFF as well as any additional information you may be able to provide on the present situation,” asked FIFA in its mail.
AIFF in its official statement said, “There are some media reports of a communication between FIFA and AIFF regarding the issues of Hero I-League and potentially a unified Indian Football League where a report of a consultation paper of FIFA and AFC in 2018 is being mentioned.”
The I-League clubs had questioned the format of ISL which is a closed league and does not have the promotion or relegation system. Responding to that, AIFF said that they would be working towards developing a lead which will have all the required systems for the development of Indian football. “The question of Hero Indian Super League not remaining a closed league permanently has been clarified amply enough by the AIFF President, and promotion and relegation eventually would lead to the development of club football in India.”
Earlier, the AIFF had decided to provide the winner of the ISL the chance to play in the qualifiers of AFC Champions League. This prompted the I-League clubs to allege that ISL has been marked as the number one league of India. Clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Minerva Punjab, Churchill Brothers, among others, have been fighting for a merged league with teams from ISL and I-League.
In the statement released today, AIFF said that they have started working towards the implementation of the proposed league and it would take some time. “Needless to mention that this is precisely the reason that a two-three-year window is required to resolve all contentious issues amicably with all stakeholders,” the statement read.