The merger between I-League and ISL seems imminent now. Image: XtraTime
XtraTime Web Desk: The merger between I-League and ISL seems imminent before the 2019-20 season in Indian football. As per reports, if the All India Football Federation doesn’t find a way to merge the two leagues before the mentioned timeline, they might get a suspension from The FIFA and The AFC.
The AIFF general secretary Kushal Das recently said that AIFF is in no rush to merge the leagues, but the report is likely to change that. The 17-page report, authored by Alex Philips of AFC (he was seconded from UEFA) and Nic Coward, a Fifa consultant, also recommends an expanded football league with 16 teams no later than 2022-23, with the bottom two teams being relegated.
The report also calls for a review of some of the arrangements currently in place, such as ISL teams having a 10-year immunity from relegation. It also suggests reviewing parts of the 15-year agreement between The AIFF and IMG-Reliance signed in 2010.
On part of IMG-R, the agreement is now executed by Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) where Star Sports has a stake. Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the report.
From 2019-20, the plan recommends that the top tier of the league has 12 teams, including 10 ISL teams, with at least one of the added teams being the I-League champions of 2018-19. By accommodating the I-League champions the plan seeks to establish a clear promotion link. The report also recommends growing ISL but “on an open and clear basis.”
Now, it is to see how Praful Patel and his men react to the newly imposed situation.