AFC, AIFF confirm unified football league in 2018


KOLKATA: Both Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Windsor John and AIFF general secretary Kushal Das have clarified that the transitory provision of simultaneous running of the Indian Super League and I-League this season would shortly make way for a merger.

Speaking on the sidelines of the FIFA Under 17 World Cup semi-finals Wednesday between Brazil and England (Indian fan favourites lost 1-3 to the Britishers), John told PTI, “It’s not a question of what we are favouring or not. It’s in the AFC Constitution that one country should have one league. We just gave provision (for two leagues) for a transition period. There will be one league for sure. For the time being, because of the situation we had to do it (have two leagues this season).”

The ISL and I-League will run simultaneously this season as the All India Football Federation failed to resolve Mohun Bagan and East Bengal’s refusal to give franchise fee required to be in the ISL. In September, a two-member team of FIFA and AFC-UEFA Affairs Committee visited the country to meet the two clubs and prepare a blueprint for Indian football. John said he was yet to see the report prepared by the team.

“I’ve to see the report, sit with ISL and discuss what needs to be done. How do we take the best of both for Indian football that should be the focal point rather than talking about merger,” he said.

Das, affirmed that there would be one league from next season but Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will have to pay “participation fees”.

“There will be one league, we will make all the efforts to have one league from next season. They have to make a choice. They (Mohun Bagan and East Bengal) have to pay up participation fees," he said, clarifying that this ‘participation fee’ is different from the ‘franchisee fee’ amounting to Rs150 million which the two clubs have refused to pay.

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