ISL, I-League close in on merger? Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore confirms AIFF plans

first_imgIndia football has been dealing with the uncertainty related to the merger of I-League and the IMG-Reliance backed Indian Super League since over a year now.A merger that was supposed to happen before the beginning of the current season was postponed because AIFF could not work out the logistics and lay out a plan in consensus with all their stakeholders.Along with the difficulty in planning out the roadmap for Indian football, the momentousness of the FIFA U-17 World Cup being hosted in India for the first time and the work that comes with it, took the centre stage in the year.AIFF, however, assured that the merger will happen soon and a deal was struck with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in order to seek more time to work out on the matter.In the latest developments of the issue, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore confirmed in the Rajya Sabha that a merger is on the cards.The issue came up in Rajya Sabha when a Bengal based MP, Ritabrata Banerjee, questioned the government if the two leagues would be merged next year.”AIFF along with all its stakeholders has planned to restructure the club football model in India wherein there would be one unified league at the top followed by lower division leagues namely, League 1 and League 2 in line with global best practices,” Rathore informed.He further added that AIFF is seeking help from FIFA and AFC in order to implement the plan soon.”AIFF has taken the help of FIFA and AFC for smooth implementation of the aforesaid plan,” Rathore added.advertisementHowever, there is no confirmation as yet if the relegation-promotion factor has been put in the plan — something that has been a point of bother for most of the clubs.Social media has constantly been abuzz with debates over which out of ISL and I-League is better for the development of football. While the purists believe that I-League clubs have far more connect with the fans and it celebrates the true passion of football, others are of opinion that ISL has brought back interest in the game for the Indian public and with money and glamour flowing, it is on the line of where the modern game is headed to.With the onset of the current season, ISL has been accused of being drab and not delivering the quality of football that it promises. I-League, on the other hand, has managed to maintain their passion and quality despite losing almost all the top players of the country to the ISL.Also, I-League matches are being played and telecast in the time bracket of afternoon so as to facilitate the prime time slot of the ISL, something that has bugged the I-League supporters.With constant debates and disagreements over the two leagues and with the division of fans and passion among the two, it is only for the better of Indian football if the next season brings with itself one unified top league.last_img

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