ISL-I League merger fate left hanging, as future plans still awaited

The Ultimatum that the Goan clubs, Salgaocar FC and sporting club de Goa gave to the AIFF for their final proposal regarding the future roadmap for Indian Football has gone, with no news from the governing body. The last update received was that AIFF has created a sub-committee to ponder over the sets of suggestions put forward by the Goan clubs. While Sadanand Salgaocar stated that he has heard nothing from the AIFF, who may have probably extended their deadline, it seems like AIFF is in no hurry to rush to any decision. As the Goan clubs have start preparing for the Goa pro league and are getting ready to survive without being a part of ISL or I league, it’s the AIFF who would have their hands full with problems that could arise from this unwanted situation. With Dempo SC owner Srinivas Dempo, who recently separated himself from ISL’s FC GOA shares, also stating that the he would be inclined to pull out, if the other two withdraws itself.

With the number of I-league team figure presently down to 6 teams, it looks like this transition period would struggle to even get an I-league season. The more worrying factor for the AIFF is the fact that not just these three but there are others too who could jump the ship. Clubs like Mumbai FC and Shillion Lajong has already been complaining about the AIFF’s biased proposed method of merging the league, while the traditional powerhouse clubs MB and EB have also voiced their concerns. It’s clear that almost all of the I-league clubs are disappointed with this so called merger plan, where the only way a club could get to play in the top-tier league is if they are ready to pay the franchise money and not by any promotion. At present, AIFF need these I-league clubs since they are the only ones who comply with AFC regulations and can play at Asian level. Ignoring them away would only result in more outrage among its limited but loyal fans.

Few things that AIFF can look into is renegotiation in the contract with the franchises, IMG-RIL and other involving factors regarding some changes in rules, which could be

  1. One city- One club rule which sounds a death bed for other I-league clubs from the same city as ISL club. While there is no doubt that changing this could affect the fan base of the ISL clubs it will also make sure that clubs would spread the game more and better to edge past one another in developing fan bases. Also same city based teams could kick start a new rivalry just like Man U-Man City or our own Kolkata derby. This derby games will only popularize the league.
  2. Including Promotion – Relegation system-Tough The current I-league competitions brought in two new clubs in Bengaluru FC and DSK Shivajians, both receiving an exemption from relegation for next 3 years. This same method could be applied in the merged league; one that is paying the franchise fee would be exempted to relegation, while the clubs opting out of payments could end up being in relegation battle.  Of course, this method should only be for a certain period, giving all clubs time to bring uniformity in quality among themselves. Opportunity to be a part of top league will only make a better competition and buzz interest in league 1 or 2.
  3. Proposed Super Cup after the merger should run in tandem with the league like FA cup and could be still kept as criteria for AFC qualifications. With all teams including one from lower leagues too getting an equal shot.

More teams in the top league would mean longer lengths of league, more players getting opportunities to be a part of country’s premier league and even better viewership. This could work or may not but a common solution would most likely be on similar lines. AIFF must understand that the I-leagues clubs wants to be part of top league, as they are not likely to trust the IMG-RIL with promotions and popularizing the lower leagues, based on the treatment I-league has received in the last couple of years.

There are lots of theories that could work but each one of them when proposed could be a hard one for one or the other clubs, the sub –committee has its handful to create a win-win situation for all. But for the future of country’s football, there has to be a good conclusion to this everlasting drama. Whatever hard decisions are taken, an understandable solution should be present for all.

Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…


Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League

Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…


MFA Elite Division club KSA to conduct trials for the upcoming season

Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season KSA had an amazing…