Indian Football’s road-map remains unclear, but good news for East Bengal & Mohun Bagaan

Aizawl FC crowned I League 2016-17 Champions (courtesy: AIFF)
Aizawl FC crowned I League 2016-17 Champions (courtesy: AIFF)

The future roadmap of Indian football remained confused after no solid picks were taken at the stakeholders meeting at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

The meeting between authorities of the AIFF, theirs marketing and business associates IMG-Reliance (IMG-R), delegates from clubs of both the I-League and also the Indian Super League (ISL), advisor of All India Football Federation (AIFF) Bhaichung Bhutia and officials from India’s sports ministry on Wednesday deferred to produce any steady pattern about I-League and ISL.

The principal positive came out the meeting is that AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor approving with the idea that the 100 years heritage of two Kolkata biggies, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan couldn’t be tossed aside and additionally I-League champ Aizwal FC’s position will also be reviewed if the merger occurs later on.

Addressing, Windsor said: “There was a desire by people, who are extremely passionate about the game, to marry the strengths of both the traditional and the new, which helped in delivering the objectives of the meeting in which the AFC listened to the key stakeholders.”

The authorities also proposed individual research would be doled out before being assessed by the AIFF and the partners, with the choices on the medium and long haul pathway being taken at the earliest opportunity after the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Another official, Kushal Das, the AIFF General Secretary, said: “We are grateful to the AFC for facilitating the meeting which is crucial to the development of football in India. We must go through this process to create the best future for the game in our country. In the meantime, we have to decide on the short-term future of the game as soon as possible.”

But the official declarations overlooked to clear the mix with respect to the ISL or the I-League merger and could leave the ball again in Indian Football Association’s court. The circumstance demonstrates that with the AFC withholding to take a solid stance on acknowledging the ISL an official league, the standoff is probably going to proceed for the present.

This implies that with very limited opportunity to execute the revamping of the Indian football schedule from the 2017-18 season itself, ISL will proceed as a more than two-month-long competition for the forthcoming season and will commence after the finish of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 and the I-League.